To Angela

Very few things are able to imbed themselves into the minds of young men deeper than love that slipped through their grasp. Such delicate situations needed to be handled with utmost sensitivity and understanding as not to permanently bruise the injured party. It was for this reason that The Royal Trio collectively took time out of their busy schedules to come together in support of one of their own. A fallen brother who had surrendered his heart only to have it broken. This certainly wasn't what Brian signed up for when he agreed to donate sperm to a couple of lesbians. Nobody told him that one day he would be sitting in an ice cream parlor, watching his son pining over puppy-love lost. Leave it to Gus to fall in love with an older woman his first time around.

Her name was Angela. She was all of seventeen. A senior at the local high school who worked part time as a playground attendant near Mel and Lindsey's house. Gus was taken with her from the very beginning, so much that Angela soon became the first person to be called whenever Gus needed a sitter. The two shared a common interest in video games, and would often stay up way past Gus's designated bedtime playing them when Mel and Lindsey were out. Angela was a connoisseur of all types of music, and was happy to introduce her auburn haired buddy to the world of hip-hop through her iPod. On the playground she was fearless, quick on the scene to ward off bullies, bandage skinned knees, and give comforting hugs to the losers of games. For the times they spent together Gus came to think of Angela as his. That was until Angela showed him the class ring around her neck, a token of affection from her new boyfriend.

Tony picked up his straw, and slid it down inside the tall, frothy root beer float. "This looks delicious," he said.

"I'll say it does. Doesn't it, Brian?" Justin agreed.

Brian didn't respond. He wasn't in the mood for parlor treats. The worried father was more concerned with the morose demeanor of the pint size mirror image sitting next to him. "So Angela has a new boyfriend," he said.

"Yep." Gus stared at his untouched float.

"Did she introduce you to him?" Brian asked.

"Yep." Gus sighed.

"Is he nice?" Brian tried to move the conversation on.

"I guess so." Gus continued to stare at his root beer float.

It was then that Tony decided that perhaps this might be a good time to share his own story of lost love. "Tiger, when I was twelve there was this girl named Monique Johnson," he began. "She was the prettiest girl in the seventh grade. I had such a crush on her. All of the boys did. She had the most beautiful legs, and she used to wear these white canvas sneakers, with white ankle socks. Everyday, after lunch, all of the boys would stand along the playground fence to watch her jump double-dutch. One day I got up the nerve to start a conversation with her, and I asked her for her phone number. Much to my surprise, she actually gave it to me. The next day I called her up, and asked her if I could come over and sit on the porch with her. She said yes, so I put on my best shirt, and I made sure that the creases in my jeans were pressed. It must have taken me at least an hour to walk to her house, but it was worth it. We sat there, on her front porch for hours, and talked until her mother called her inside. Before I left, Monique Johnson gave me my first real kiss."

"You never told me this story before." Justin smiled. "So what happened after that?"

"On the way home I got jumped by a gang of boys. The next day at school I found out that one of those boys was Monique's boyfriend. She had used me to make him jealous. I never called her again," Tony said.

"That sucks." Gus frowned.

"It happens, Tiger. Sometimes the girl you want will have another boyfriend. All you can do is chalk it up to experience, and move on," Tony said.

"So that's why you started liking boys," Gus concluded.

Gus's response caught his newest dad completely off guard, and momentarily at a loss for words, much to the amusement of Brian who didn't make it any better.

"Nice going poppa-bear." Brian snickered.

Thankfully Justin was quick to come to Tony's aid. "No, Gus, just because a girl turns you down, that doesn't mean that you're going to start liking boys," he said.

Wow. That was certainly a relief. While Gus was accustomed to being around queers, that didn't necessarily mean that he wanted to be one himself. He had seen the magazines his Pop kept hidden in the lower drawer of his nightstand. They were ok, but the Playboy Gus's friend, Tyler stole from his dad's collection and brought to school was far more interesting. Especially the big picture in the center, the one that folded out. The girl in the photograph kind of reminded Gus of Angela, at least that's how he envisioned her from the neck down. What indelible memories! Gus could still recall the feel of Angela's soft, puffy chest against his cheeks, and the lip-gloss she left on his forehead when he gave her the daisies he'd swiped from Mr. Klein's garden for her birthday. It didn't matter that he was almost bitten by Sapphire, Mr. Klein's crazed yorkie, or that he nearly lost his young balls on a steel fence trying to get away. Angela's hugs were well worth it.

"I'm going to marry Angela when I grow up," Gus announced.

As cliché as it sounded, Brian turned to the age old words of wisdom that every father, at one time or another had said to their son. "Gus, I know you like Angela, but she's too old for you, sonny-boy. I know you don't believe me now, but I promise you that someday you're going to find a nice girl your own age. You're going to fall in love, and you'll forget all about Angela," Brian said as gently as he could.

"Justin didn't forget about you," Gus abruptly reminded him.

Gus's response caught his Pop off guard, and momentarily at a loss for words, much to the amusement of Tony who didn't make it any better. "Touché." Tony snickered.

Thankfully, Justin was quick to come to Brian's aid. "I suppose that settles it then. Here's to Angela." He lifted his root beer float in toast. "Big guy, if you love her, and you're sure that she's meant to be yours, then wait for her, and take her when she's ready. Just like I waited for your Pop."

"To Angela." Tony raised his glass.

"To Angela." Brian reluctantly joined in.

"To Angela." Gus smiled.

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