Faith and Truth: Chapter Four
By Nar (2011)
First thing I've written in about three years that I've posted someplace public. I've decided not to include graphic sex in this story as I think the story has veered far away from that. This is more about family values and unconditional love than smut.
Hope you enjoy.
Alex woke the next morning suddenly. His eyes darted around the room finding unfamiliar surroundings before he laid back and sighed. He was on the couch in Thomas' house, a very old and cheaply made afghan draped over his body as he sat up and rubbed his eyes, letting out a huge yawn as he turned to sit up on the couch proper and picked up his cell phone to check the time. The house was almost deathly silent and the early morning sun shone through the windows of the living room, blinding the wolf momentarily before he averted his eyes and flipped his phone open, only to find the battery dead. Alex sighed softly and muttered curses to himself as he closed the phone and walked upstairs to Tom's room and opening the door to find his boyfriend sound asleep, his little leopard ears just visible above the sheets he had inadvertently pulled up to his nose while he slept. Alex stopped and smiled before walking as quietly as he could to the edge of the bed, almost hating to wake his boyfriend up, but needing to talk to him now. He sat on the edge of the twin bed and placed his paw on Tom's shoulder, gently nudging him awake.
The leopard let out a soft, somewhat irritable erf as his brow furrowed and he let out an barely audible snarl as his body refused to give up it's hold on sleep. Alex was undeterred and shook a little harder and Tom's eyes slowly opened, his snarl fading to nothing as his primal instinct to be left alone while sleeping receded and his conscious mind took over. He looked up at Alex and smiled softly, still a little blearly eyed as he held his arms up for a hug.
"Good morning wolfy." Tom said softly as he received his morning hug. "Is anything wrong?"
Alex gave his kitty a gentle kiss on the cheek and shook his head as he sat back up. "Not really. Just...needed to talk and hear your voice."
Tom smiled and rolled over to check the wristwatch beside his nightstand. "What time is it?"
Alex shrugged his shoulders. "Dunno."
Tom inwardly groaned. It was barely 6am. His body was exhausted and after the last week of emotional ups and downs and he just wanted to sleep in, but Alex's happiness came before any desires of his own body so he simply yawned and sat up in bed, dropping the watch onto the nightstand and looking at his boyfriend.
"But how are you really wolfy?" Tom asked.
Alex looked out the window briefly then back to Tom's face. "I don't know. I don't know why I'm so sad. My parents said they were sorry and we're now out to both our families, but the conversation I told you about that I overheard that night still hurts."
Tom listened in stone silence. He still felt a little pang of anger when he thought about that conversation, but he kept it to himself.
"I know they were just speaking out of ignorance, but I don't know how to think about it." Alex said quietly, his eyes locked on his own paws.
Tom reached over and squeezed Alex's fingers affectionately. "I'm sure they're genuinely sorry baby. You just need to forget about it. We'll see in the next few months if their outlook has genuinely changed or whether they will revert to their previous beliefs, but we need to be patient."
Alex nodded and squeezed back. "Ok kitty. I hope this is for real though."
It had been three weeks since that night at the restaurant. Alex still maintained a guarded tone around his parents and he still didn't dare bring Tom home for anything, be it to spend the night or just for video games. He always went out to visit him and his parents seemed to not want to bring up the subject of Tom, homosexuality or anything concerning Alex's personal life. It was so nonchalant that it sometimes pained the young wolf so much that he ended up spending many nights at Tom's house instead of his own sleeping on the couch. He and the leopard hadn't drifted apart in the least, but he respected Tom's parents too much and feared his parents overreaction if they found out he was having sex with his own boyfriend. Both boys were getting extremely pent-up, and didn't have sex on a regular basis because of it, but at least Tom understood.
His parents had told Xavier a few days after Alex's dad came to Alex's workplace and from what he understood, he took it relatively quietly. He didn't say a word...just listened. Afterwards his parents left his room and he didn't bring up the subject at all, but his demeanor had changed towards his brother. He no longer demanded anything. No longer played his music so loudly, and no longer cursed at anyone. Alex's sisters were the only ones exempt from the knowledge, because his parents had decided they were too young to understand and would be told once they reached their tweens.
It was the middle of May, the sun was just beginning to begin it's attack on the summer-starved masses. Alex was gathering his keys and wallet to leave for another solitary visit to Tom when he heard a knock on his half-open door before his brother entered, his paws in the pockets of his loose-fitting black cargo pants and a relatively simple death metal T-shirt on. His face was sullen as he walked into the room.
"Alex...Alex I need to talk to you." He said quietly, not raising his eyes to his brother's. Alex motioned Xavier to sit at the desk nearby as he sat down on the edge of the bed to listen.
"Alex, I...well...you and Tom..." Xavier attempted to speak, but his mind seemed lost. Extreme shame was awash in his face and Alex could feel it stabbing at the center of his heart. Rejection. That's all this could be.
Xavier pulled his paws out of his pockets, his left paw holding onto two simple white envelopes. He handed one to his brother, Alex's name scribbled messily onto it and the other bearing the label of "Mom and Dad". Alex was terrified to open it and just sat there with the parcel in his paws staring at it like it was a letter bomb.
Xavier looked up at his brother briefly before speaking. "It's $500. It's for the damage I did to your truck. There's nothing else in the envelope."
Alex still couldn't bring himself to look inside. His brother's sullen and forgetful attitude had thrown him completely off balance. He had become used to the new behavior Xavier had been in the past few weeks, but not this kind of generosity.
Xavier held the other envelope up slightly to motion to it. "This is for the damage I did to the wall the other night."
Alex nodded, unable to speak.
"Alex, I...I'm sure you were told I know all about Tom, and I just want you to know this doesn't change things between us. You're still my brother, and as much as I might not agree with it, that doesn't matter. I know Tom is a good guy and all, but I simply don't..." Xavier sighed and squeezed the second envelope tightly. "...Just understand that no matter what I'll still be here for you, you're still my brother, but I need time to figure out how I feel."
Alex finally found the courage to speak, but only a single word. "Ok."
Xavier immediately stood and left the room, the door swinging shut behind him as he made a bee-line for their parent's room, leaving Alex alone with the envelope of money as he slowly opened it to indeed find $500 in twenties before immediately shutting it.
Without even thinking he closed his eyes and felt tears coming as he whispered "God, thank you for your mercy with my brother." Before he pocketed the cash and left, wiping tears from his eyes.
It had been two months now, and for the first time in a long time, his family woke up early on Sunday morning. His parents got the girls dressed while Xavier and Alex fumbled with their ties and dress shirts. It had been a while since the family had gone to a church service, and Alex's mind raced as he wondered what was going to happen. His dad had told him he had something he wanted to say in front of the relatively small congregation of about 100 people and had obtained permission from his pastor to do so, but he didn't know what it was. He had some idea it pertained to him and the family's situation, but not exactly what, but his father had told him it wouldn't be embarrassing to Alex personally at all.
The wolf finally managed to get his tie exactly the way he wanted before he headed downstairs his brother in tow. Xavier had dressed up as well, but his pressed shirt couldn't hide he was a death metal junkie inside, as he had gotten his eartips gauged in the past month and a large skull on a hollow ring hung there now. Alex thought it looked stupid, and jokingly told his brother this for which Xavier laughed finally for the first time in a long time. Slowly they began to come back together, closer than before and Alex finally began picking up the shattered pieces of his emotions again.
The ride to church was a long and almost silent one. James had turned on the radio, this time to the Nickelodeon XM channel for the girls, his lips pursed and his eyes steely. He had something important to say and was gathering all of his courage to say it. Alex was still a little nervous, but accepted his dad's reassurance.
Twenty minutes later they pulled into the parking lot of Christ's Legacy Church and the girls ran around the truck excitedly. They were both wearing brand new dresses and seemed intent on ruining them before the day was over, something not amiss on their mother as she tried to corral them by holding their hands on the walk inside. James stayed behind at the truck and motioned for the boys to stay as well while the girls went to the next building over to sunday school, and the elder wolf waited for them to be out of earshot before he addressed his sons.
"Xavier...Alex. I told you this morning I have something to say to the congregation. I won't talk about any of our family issues or anything like that, and I know I haven't been the most forgiving dad as of late." James spoke softly so his voice wouldn't carry as he laid his paw on Alex's shoulder and looked him directly in the eye. "I know you're still upset about that night where your mother and I were arguing. And I hope you can one day forgive me for those words Alex. I do love you and accept you for who you are. And I want you to know you can bring Tom home any time you want for him to visit, but while in my home, there is to be no sex, no matter what."
Alex almost protested before James laid his other paw on Xavier's shoulder and also looked him in the eye "That goes for you too Xavier. If you bring a girl home, it's only to visit and nothing else. I know your mother and I have been a little harsh on you when we needed to be supportive and I want you to know we also love you and hope you can forgive us someday as well."
Alex felt a lump in his throat form and his eyes form tears. He also darted an eye to Xavier and saw he was trying to hold his own tears back. James smiled, hugged both his boys in turn then made his way inside just as the worship music began to subside and his wife joined them by their seats. The bruin pastor, a Steven Sommerson, seemed more wild-eyed than normal as he jogged up the stage shouting praises, his large paws held to the sky before he called down James in a booming voice echoed badly on the cheap PA system installed in the church. James closed his eyes, swallowed hard and made his way to the front of the church.
James took the guest microphone from Steven and stood in the center of the stage, looking out at the congregation. His eyes seemed humble and his shoulders drooped before he began.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is James Adam Bythorne. I have been coming here to Christ's Legacy for over twenty years with my wife Brenda, who I have been happily married to for thirty-two years."
The audience applauded loudly. Pastor Steve had very often taken to the pulpit to praise long-lasting marriages. James smiled and waved to Brenda who smiled back at him, her eyes already filled with tears.
"In that time we have had four wonderful children. Two boys, Xavier and Alex, and two girls, Mary and Vicky. And since then I...I..." James pulled the microphone away from his mouth and used his free hand to pull out a tissue from his suit pocket and wipe his eyes from the tears that suddenly began to flow there. Alex blinked slightly. He had only seen his dad cry once, at the funeral of his brother back when he was a kid.
"...I have been the proudest dad who has ever lived. I have the most wonderful family that God could possibly create and I try to humble myself every day to be thankful for the simple fact that they're here, but..."
The audience was completely silent. James wiped his eyes again.
"...but I am a fallible man. I get prideful and need to be reminded of how precious my family is to me, because if my pride was to cause them to hate me, I would never forgive myself and would rather burn in hell for eternity than have my family hate me."
Soft murmurs could be heard around the auditorium. James could neither hear them clearly and while Alex and the rest of his family could, he didn't care what they said. His father closed his eyes as he spoke.
"My sons and I haven't been seeing eye to eye the past couple of months and I have refused to listen to them, and I have apologized in secret to them and in front of all of you, I want to tell them publicly that I am very sorry for my failings as a father and hope they can forgive me one day. I am your father Xavier and Alex, but I am a man and a man makes mistakes. Please forgive me and...I...oh goooood..."
James fell to his knees on the stage and held his paws over his eyes and muzzle, weeping in pain, the microphone falling from his paws to the stage but not before the soundman managed to mute it before it blew out every one's eardrums. Without even looking at each other, Alex, Xavier and his mom all rushed the stage and hugged James tightly. Alex cried with his dad, feeling the extreme heartbreak there as James almost howled in emotional pain, his big paws grabbing at his family's loving arms as he cried. The bear pastor stepped up to the stage, clapping his paws and beaming in pride down at the family as he spoke to the congregation who erupted in applause.
"Now here, believers in Christ, is a man broken for his family, broken in humility and mended by perfect love. HERE...here is a man bowed before the judgement of his own actions and reconciled by the unconditional love of his family. HERE BRETHREN is a man who is repentant as before God and a true believer in Christ to value his family's well-being over that of his own eternal soul!!"
The crowd exploded in applause and shouts of "Amen!" as Pastor Steve continued. Alex held his dad tightly and whispered close to his ear "I love you dad." as James slowly stood and held his family tightly as he walked back to his seat.
"And family in Christ, this kind of unconditional love pales in comparison to the love God feels for each and every soul on this earth! This I tell you without lie that the overwhelming love this brave man's family feels for him is only a drop in the ocean of God's love and with that love we are saved!"
James finally sat down as the congregation gave a standing ovation, their faces turned in his direction as he finally began to dry his tears. He smiled through the hurt he felt inside, but only looked at Alex and Xavier, who smiled back at him and hugged him once more before the clapping stopped and the pastor began his sermon, beginning with Jesus' sermon on the Mount and ending in the call to the disciples to spread God's word.
Alex pulled out his cell phone as the sermon ended and his family went to go pick up the girls from Sunday school, sending a single line of text to Tom:
"I completely forgive them."