Secrets 2: Looking Through Different Eyes

Chapter 20: A Family Fourth of July

Devin’s parents arrived just in time for supper on July 3rd, and after we’d all greeted them, my mom spoke again.    

“You’ll be staying in the same room as last time and we’ll give you a chance to take your things up to the room, get settled in, and freshen up a bit before you come down to eat.”

“Thank you.  We appreciate that,” Ma replied, and then she and Pa headed upstairs.  As soon as they were ready, they came back down to join us and we all went into the dining room to have supper.

“The meal looks delicious,” Ma said before taking a seat at the table. 

“I remembered you’d enjoyed a similar meal one other time when you were here, and since that was quite a while ago, I thought I’d prepare it again,” my mom replied.  We were having lasagna, a broccoli and cheese casserole, garlic bread, and a large tossed salad. 

Doris may be focused on the food,” Pa added, “but I’ve got my eyes on the bottles of wine setting beside Mike’s place at the table and wine glasses for each of us.”

“I knew you would,” my dad concurred with a chuckle, “so everyone sit down and I’ll fill your glass.”

“Even Devin’s and mine?” I asked.

“Yes, I believe you and Devin are old enough to enjoy a little wine with your meal as well.”

Once my dad had poured some wine into each of our glasses and we’d filled our plates, Pa asked for our attention. 

“Before we eat, I’d like to make a toast.  Mike and Cindy, we’ve been friends since the boys were in kindergarten, and now that Devin and Mickey have let us know that they’re committed to one another as a couple, we’ll soon be family as well.  Here’s to a long and beneficial new relationship for each of us, and may Devin and Mickey be happy in the new life they’ll be making together.” 

“Here, here!” my dad confirmed. 

“And we’re going to have grandkids,” Ma stated, and then I heard my mom add, “Amen.”

It made us feel good that we knew we had the full support of both sets of parents about being a couple.  It was something I hadn’t originally counted on when Devin and I first discussed this possibility, but it’s nice to be reminded that our parents are totally behind us. 

The conversation around the table was lively and often amusing as our parents reminded us about different incidents from the past while we were eating our meal.  Eventually, my dad made a comment to Devin’s parents. 

“I hope you’re staying tomorrow night as well.”

“Yes, I was going to mention it to you later that we were hoping you wouldn’t mind if we stayed another night.  We figured it would be late by the time the fireworks ended and we didn’t want to make the long trip home at that time of night.”

“No problem and we were counting on you doing that.  I was worried that you might try to drive back at that late hour and possibly be involved in an accident.  You know there will be a great deal of traffic on the roads and some of the driver’s might even be inebriated after spending a good part of the day drinking.”

“That’s very thoughtful of you,” Ma stated, “and Devin and Mickey will be returning with us at the same time, so Mickey can spend a couple of weeks with us at the cabin before the boys return to go on vacation with you.” 

“And when Devin brings Mickey back,” my mom responded, “we’ll be taking them on two separate week-long trips.  The first will be to visit my parents in Missouri, and then we’ll be going to Florida to visit Mike’s parents before the boys leave for college.”

“That reminds me,” Pa followed.  “Devin told me about your upcoming trips and I want to give you some money to help cover the expenses.” 

“That’s not necessary, Aaron,” my dad quickly responded.  

“It may not be necessary, but I want to do it.  You will be staying at motels or hotels and eating all of your meals at restaurants, and that’s not all.  You’ll also have to rent a vehicle at each location, and then there will be the fees you’ll be paying for the various activities you’re planning on participating in.  It means those trips will be much more expensive than when Mickey stays with us at the cabin, so I insist that you let me chip in to cover some of the cost.”

“We can talk about it in private later, once the meal is over,” my dad countered, and I knew this was his way of delaying a discussion that he didn’t want to have.

Devin and I spent time chatting with our parents after we finished eating, but eventually our dads went outside to chat in private.  Since our moms had started discussing things we weren’t interested in, Devin and I went up to my room. 

As soon as the door closed we started making out, but after doing that for a while we felt we should go back downstairs and spend a little more time with our parents until they went to bed.  We felt they will go to sleep early so they’ll be ready for a busy day tomorrow, and hopefully they won’t hear anything while we were making love or taking a shower before going to sleep.

After we went back downstairs and our dads had finished their conversation, we all agreed to watch TV for a while before going to bed.  When the program ended, they got ready to head up to their rooms, but we told them we were going to stay up a little longer.  They merely bid us goodnight and headed upstairs, and as soon as we felt they were all sleeping, we headed upstairs and made love. 

It wasn’t one of our longest sessions, but it was sufficient to make us feel loved and take care of our needs.  When we had finished making love to each other, we went through our nightly ritual before getting back in bed, cuddling, and falling asleep.

Shortly after we ate breakfast the next morning, we all got ready to head downtown to watch the parade.  While we were looking for a good vantage point so we wouldn’t miss anything, our parents began running into people they knew.  They would inevitably stop and chat with them, and after doing this several different times, we finally found a good place to stand.  Once the parade started, though, they spent their time watching the action and seemed to be enjoying it, even though it was basically the same as last year.

When we returned to the house, we quickly split into pairs in order to carry out the next set of tasks.  Ma offered to help my mom prepare the salads for the cookout, and Pa agreed to help my dad make sure the grill was ready before they took the meat outside to cook it.  While they were doing those things, Devin and I were busy preparing a couple of activities that we could all do together. 

In order to accomplish this, Devin and I went down to the basement so we could dig out some things we could use.  After locating a large, plastic storage container, we prepared the items necessary for the first activity, and then we dug out a couple of other items that we would all enjoy doing together.  Even though these activities wouldn’t be overly strenuous, they should be sufficient to ensure that our parents would be tired by the time they headed to bed, shortly after the fireworks had ended. 

As we’d been doing those things, our dads grilled the meat while our moms brought out the salads, condiments, and other items that would be necessary, and then we all sat down to eat.  Our mom’s had prepared both a potato and macaroni salad, and our dads provided us with a choice of hamburgers, hot dogs, or sausages.  When we finished eating, we all helped with the clean up and carried the leftovers, dirty dishes, and trash inside, and then Devin and I notified our parents about what we’d be doing next. 

“We decided that we should all play a couple of games now, and we don’t want to hear any complaints about doing it,” I announced. 

“I hope they don’t require too much energy and we won’t have to run around, because I’m too stuffed to do anything like that,” my dad stated.

“Yes, we just finished eating and our stomachs are full,” Ma agreed. 

“Don’t worry, because we aren’t going to do anything that’s too strenuous or will take a lot of energy,” I assured them, and then Devin and I went to collect the objects that we’d need for this purpose.  When we returned, we were carrying the plastic storage container, which was filled with balloons that Devin and I had filled with water for this purpose.

“We knew you guys would say it would be unfair if Devin and I were on the same team while we were doing this, so we’re going to play the water balloon toss this way.  Devin and I will partner with our moms first and play against each other, and then we’ll team up with our dads and do the same thing.  If you want to give it a try against each other when we’re done, then both couples can compete against each other at that time.”

“We don’t want to get all wet before going to watch the fireworks,” my mom objected. 

“Don’t worry about it, because it’s definitely warm enough that the water will evaporate long before then.”

“Yes, you’re probably right about that, so we’ll give it a try,” she relented. 

“It even sounds like it might be fun,” Ma concurred, and our dads nodded in agreement.   

As expected, sooner or later we all got wet.  My mom got wet when the balloon broke when she caught it, and Devin got wet when Ma’s toss was slightly off target and the balloon hit the ground, burst, and splattered him.  Pa got wet when he tried to catch a throw that was off to one side, but he misjudged it and it broke when it hit his shoulder.  The rest of us suffered similar moments and got a little wet, and it happened to a few of us more than just once or twice.

There was also the time our moms ran over and grabbed new balloons out of the storage container so they could run over and throw them directly at our dads.  They did this because they thought their husbands had thrown the balloon really high to make it difficult for them to catch, just so they’d get wet.  No one got mad; however.  They just got even. 

As soon as the game ended, our moms hustled inside quickly and returned carrying the chocolate cake they’d made for dessert.  Once again, on the top was written ‘Happy Birthday USA’, and the cake was quite delicious. 

“Are you ready to play another game?” Devin and I asked as soon as we’d finished eating our dessert. 

“No, we’ve got to get ready to head over to the park,” my mom stated.  “We’re going to have a picnic supper there later and we’ll have to put everything in the cooler so we can take it with us,”

“And we’re going to help them, and then we’ll load the cooler in the SUV,” my dad quickly added, since he knew we were going to ask him and Pa to play a game next. 

“Ok, then we can just take those things with us and play them at the park.”

As soon as they went inside, our dads filled the cooler with the drinks and then covered them with ice, while our moms were filling plastic containers with different types of sandwiches and salads.  They then placed those containers on top of the ice, and then our dads carried the cooler out to the SUV. 

While they were doing those things, Devin and I placed what we’d need for the next two activities in the SUV so we’d have them when we reached the park.  When we finished doing that, our moms gave us two cloth grocery bags to carry out to the SUV as well.  One of the bags contained the other items that we’d need for the picnic, such as paper plates, napkins, utensils, and condiments, while the other bag contained two blankets for us to sit on.  Once everything was loaded into the back of the SUV, we all piled inside for the ride to the park. 

Shortly after we arrived there, I got out the Frisbee so we could toss it back and forth with our parents, since it wasn’t nearly time to eat yet. 

“Come on, I know you’ve all done this before, because you used to toss the Frisbee around with Devin and me when we were younger.”

After thinking it over, they agreed it might be fun, so we formed a large circle and started tossing it around.  Since they hadn’t done this for a while, our parents aim was sometimes off, which meant the person they were throwing it to would have to chase it down so they could toss it to someone else. 

Devin and I were hoping that by doing this, along with the other things we had planned, it would tire our parents out.  We wanted to make sure that they’d be worn out by the time we returned home and would head directly to bed and sleep soundly.  That way, Devin and I could make love without having to worry about disturbing them.

We continued tossing the Frisbee around for much longer then any of us thought we would when we started, and Devin and I made sure that each of our parents got plenty of chances to catch the Frisbee and throw it to someone else.  When we got tired of doing that, Devin took the Frisbee over to the SUV and grabbed the soccer ball so we could kick that back and forth for a while. 

“I think we’ve done this long enough,” my mom said. 

“Ok, then we’ll set up the next activity,” I responded. 

“Only if it’s something we don’t have to run around to do,” my mom replied. 

“No, we’ve brought the things we’d need to play Cornhole next.”

“That should be easy enough,” Ma said in an attempt to convince my mom. 

“Ok, we’ll do that then.”

I then took the soccer ball over to the SUV, and then Devin and I took the Cornhole boards and beanbags over to where our parents were waiting.  We quickly paced off 27 feet (8 m) and set up the boards, and then Devin and I suggested we team up with our moms first.  We had them stand beside the same board and toss their beanbags at the other board, and my mom chose the four red beanbags, so Ma used the four blue beanbags.

When the game ended, Devin and I teamed up with our dads next, and after that we allowed our parents to play against each other.  As soon as that game was over, our moms announced it was time to eat.  As Devin and I were putting the Cornhole equipment in the SUV, our dads grabbed the cooler and carried it over to our moms, so Devin and I grabbed the two, cloth shopping bags.  Once we gave them to our moms, they asked us to spread out the blankets so we could sit on them, while they unpacked the other bag.  After they gave the rest of us a paper plate and plastic utensils, they explained our options. 

“We have four different types of sandwiches to choose from.  There are egg salad, tuna salad, chicken breast with cheddar cheese, and ham with Swiss cheese sandwiches to choose from.  There’s also a fruit salad and a Greek salad, and there should be enough to fill each of us up.  However, if you’re still a little hungry after you finish eating those things, we also brought several variety packs that are filled with different types of munchies, and we also have another dessert for later.”

We quickly loaded up our plates with what we wanted, and as we were eating, Ma spoke. 

“This was wonderful idea and it reminds me of the picnics I went on with my parents when I was younger.  It also brings back memories of the picnics we took the boys on when they were little.  I’m glad we all got together to do this again.”

“So am I,” my mom chimed in, “and I think we should do this every year.” 

“I think we agreed on that last year,” my dad said with a grin.  “We only asked Devin to check with his parents to make sure they hadn’t forgotten or made other plans.”

“No need to worry, because we hadn’t forgotten,” Pa confirmed.  “In fact, we were looking forward to doing this again.” 

“And I was talking about having a picnic at the park every year from now on,” my mom clarified with a smug expression on her face.

As we continued eating, the topic turned to other summer outings we had taken together.  Of course, our parents managed to bring up the various embarrassing incidents that had occurred during those times.  

“Do you remember the time when we were picnicking at Gracie Park,” Ma asked, “and the boys went off to do some exploring?  While they were gone, they spotted a hornet’s nest hanging from a branch and decided to throw stones at it.”  

“We didn’t know what it was,” Devin protested.  “It just looked like a good target to throw stones at, so that’s what we did.”

“Yes and the hornets let you know, in no uncertain terms, that you should stop and never do that again.”  What she meant was that Devin and I both got stung numerous times that day. 

“How about the time we picnicked at the state park and Devin and Mickey decided they could carry the large watermelon we’d brought to eat later?” my dad asked.  “I’m not sure how they even managed to get it out of the SUV, but they each grabbed one end of it and tried to follow us as we were carrying the other items.”

“And from what I remember,” Pa added, “Mickey stepped in a hole, twisted his ankle, and dropped his end of the watermelon.”

“Hey, I was concentrating on holding my end the watermelon and didn’t see the hole.” I explained. 

“Maybe not, but then you fell on top of the watermelon and completely smashed it between your body and the ground.” 

“And he looked so pathetic when he came over to tell us about what had happened,” my mom said, “because his clothes were covered with watermelon.”  

“And there wasn’t enough of it left that we could eat it,” Devin continued, “so only the ants got to enjoy it.”

“A big help you are,” I countered while shooting daggers at Devin with my eyes. 

“Come on, that was funny.”

“Maybe for the rest of you, but not for me it wasn’t.”   

Not wanting this to get out of hand, my mom made a suggestion.

“Now that we’ve finished eating, I think we should put these things back in the SUV so we can walk around for a while.  I feel it will help to keep us from feeling bloated, and it will also be good exercise and a way to burn off some of the calories that we’ve just eaten.”

“That’s a good idea,” Ma concurred, “and it will allow us to see who else is here at the same time.”

We’d barely started out on our walk before our parents spotted others that they knew and stopped to chat with them.  Growing impatient, Devin and I began looking around to see what else was going on.  It didn’t take long before we spotted some kids kicking a soccer ball around near the lake, but they weren’t on the beach where people were sunning themselves or just relaxing.  Instead, the kids were at another location that was farther down and away from the sandy beach. 

I’d forgotten that at one time there was an athletic field at that location which had been marked out so the kids could play touch football or an impromptu game of soccer.  Although this was no longer the case, the area was flat and freshly mowed, so it was a great place to have a little fun.

As we were watching them from a distance, we saw a group of older boys heading in that direction and each of them had a devilish expression on his face.  When they reached the younger kids, one of the older boys grabbed the soccer ball, and then he and his friends started playing keep away with it, instead of giving the ball back to the younger kids.  The older boys would toss the ball back and forth, but just out of reach of the younger kids that were doing their best to get it back. 

When they tired of doing that, one of the older boys held the ball high over his head while the younger group attempted to jump up and knock the ball free.  The problem was, they couldn’t jump high enough to reach it and the older boy still refused to return the ball.  Frustrated, a few of the younger children started screaming at the older boy and demanded he give their ball back, while the others pleaded with him to return their ball, but none of them was having any success. 

The group of older boys appeared to be in their mid to late teens, and after watching what was taking place, Devin turned toward me and spoke. 

“Do you think we should go help the younger kids get their ball back?” he asked with a smirk. 

“Yes, I think those older boys need to be taught a lesson.”

“Good, then I suggest it would be wise if we transitioned to look menacing enough to scare the teens and make it so they won’t be able to recognize us later, and we can do it as we’re walking there.  I intend to teach the bullies a lesson, but I don’t want it to ruin the rest of the day for our parents, in case the teens decide to come looking for us later with a larger group or return carrying weapons.”

“Good point, so let’s get going.”

I was pleased that we were doing this together, so as we walked over to that location we kept our heads down so the brims of the baseball caps we were wearing would obscure what we were doing.  Without stopping, we transitioned our faces first, and since we were wearing shorts and a slightly oversized t-shirts, we transitioned other parts of our bodies as well.  We gradually increased our size until we were around six feet four inches (193 cm) tall, and we also increased our muscular development as well.  We hoped that by doing this it would intimidate the teenage boys right from the start.

We walked directly toward the group of four bullies and Devin started off by confronting the leader of the group directly.  He was attempting to convince the teen to give the ball back to the younger kids, but the young man remained defiant.  It quickly became apparent that he wasn’t intimidated by us and unlikely to cooperate.  This might have had something do with the fact that the teen appeared to be nearly six feet (183 cm) tall and in his late teens. 

Instead of going along with Devin’s request, the leader challenged Devin to make him give the ball back.  At first this seemed to startle Devin, but then I saw a smirk begin to form on his lips.  Since the boy had figuratively thrown down the gauntlet, Devin eagerly took up the challenge.  He immediately extended both of his arms and started pushing the young man backward.  He did this by thrusting the palms of his hands forcefully against the young man’s shoulders, and this caused the teen to take a step or two backward as he attempted to maintain his balance. 

“Seeing you like to pick on kids younger and smaller than yourself, I think it’s only fair that someone shows you how that feels.  What do you think about being on the receiving end this time?”

I don’t think Devin was expecting an answer, and I suspect he was merely hoping the boy would either drop the ball or agree to give it back to the younger boys, but the young man remained obstinate.

“I’m not afraid of you!” he shouted at Devin as the other three began to move in Devin’s direction.  Since I didn’t think that was a good idea, I grabbed two of them by the arm. 

“Fuck, that hurts!” one of them wailed. 

“Yeah, let go of me,” the other boy hissed. 

Hearing his friends shouting caused the third boy to stop in his tracks and hurriedly turn around so he could see what was happening. 

“Then stay out of this,” I warned, “because if you think it hurts when I’ve merely grabbed your arm, then maybe you should consider how it will feel if you force me to punch you instead.”

After saying that, I slowly relaxed my grip on them while still holding them by their arms, but now I was no longer hurting them.  Since they relaxed and didn’t try to get away, I released my grip completely and they immediately rubbed their arms where I’d held them.  Now that we’d reached an understanding, we all turned our attention back to Devin and their friend.

Devin was still talking to the bully as he slowly continued to push him backward, but the contact was much more forceful than before.  Due to the increase in the severity of each shove, it forced the teen to take two or three steps backward to maintain his balance and keep from falling on his ass.  I felt Devin was hoping the bully would finally relent and agree to give the ball back to the younger kids, but he continued his stubborn refusal to give in. 

“Bullying younger kids isn’t going to make you look tough or prove anything to anyone else, even to your friends, so if you really want to prove that you’re tough, then fight back.  Go ahead; take a swing at me so I can swing back!” 

I had a feeling Devin was hoping the idea of fighting with someone bigger and stronger than he was would cause the teen to drop the ball, rather than taking a swing at him, but that didn’t happen.  And since things weren’t going as he’d hoped, Devin appeared to be growing frustrated and impatient. 

Suddenly, and without any warning, Devin started pushing the bully even more forcefully, which caused the teen to take three or four steps backward in an effort to remain upright.  These actions were also moving both of them closer to the bank that rose up and surrounded the lake. 

Growing more frustrated with the teen’s reluctance to give in, Devin eventually gave him an even more powerful shove.  This time it caused the young man to stagger several steps backward as his arms flailed about in an effort to remain upright.  Unfortunately, when he reached the bank that surrounded the lake, his feet got tangled up in the unmowed grass and weeds that grew there.  This made it impossible for him to take the steps required to maintain his balance and he completely lost the battle to remain upright.   Instead, he fell on his ass and landed in the water. 

The bully had finally let go of the ball before he reached the bank, but Devin was no longer waiting for that to happen.  He was out to prove a point and show the bully what it was like to have someone bigger and stronger picking on him. 

I barely noticed that as soon as the bully had dropped the soccer ball, one of the younger boys raced over and picked it up.  He then ran back to his friends and they all took off so they could return to the field where they had been playing previously, and then they began kicking the ball around again. 

The other teens either hadn’t noticed or merely ignored what the younger boys were doing, and instead they hurried over to help their friend.  They tried to give him a hand and pull him out of the water, but their leader refused their help.  He wanted to do it on his own.  The thing was that it seemed his wet feet were making it nearly impossible for him to climb up the bank and he kept losing his balance in the tall grass and weeds before falling back in the water again. 

Eventually, he finally allowed his friends to assist him and he grabbed their hands so they could pull him up the bank.   Unfortunately, he slipped on the bank again and started falling backward, and this caught his friends by surprise.   It jerked the two teen who’d been grasping his hands further into the tangle of grass and weeds at the top of the bank, and this caused them to lose their balance as well and they went head first into the water as their friend fell backward.  

We didn’t stick around to watch them any longer and Devin and I started walking slowly back to rejoin our parents.  As we were doing this, we were also gradually transitioning into our normal appearance again.  This proved to be a good thing, because we’d just finished the process a short time before the bully caught up to us.  He grabbed Devin by the shoulder and spun him around, as if he was prepared to punch him. 

“Do you want something?” Devin asked calmly, choosing to do that rather than taking a swing at the teen. 

“Uh, I thought you were someone else, but now I realize you aren’t as big or as scary looking as that guy was,” he stammered before racing off again. 

Apparently, he didn’t notice the difference in Devin’s size when he did this and was merely concentrating on what he was wearing, since the young man was slightly taller than either of us now.  As soon as he was able to see Devin’s face and realized that Devin didn’t look like his tormentor, he continued his search.  It seemed as if he wanted to prove he wasn’t afraid of that other guy, and we suspected he was prepared to try to get even. 

We assumed this probably had more to do with regaining his dignity and standing as leader of the group.  It seemed as if he felt the humiliation he’d just endured, as well as the unexpected dip in the lake, had most likely lowered their opinions of him, and he was ready to get it back by fighting the other guy.

We watched for a short time as he took off and raced around the park looking for the other guy, but we quickly grew tired of doing this.  Instead, we began making our way back to where we guessed our parents would be, and along the way I asked Devin a question. 

“I couldn’t see what your face looked like while you were confronting the bully because you had your back to me the entire time.  I was also busy keeping an eye on the bully’s friends, so what did you look like?  Why did he think you looked scary?”

“I gave myself a very rugged looking face with a square jaw, and I also made sure I had a few facial tattoos, hoping that would help to scare him.  I had two solid black teardrops under my left eye and another under my right eye, and I had a scorpion tattoo on the right side of my neck.”

“Hold on a minute!  Did you use the teardrops tattoos because they had a specific meaning?”

“Yes, they’re a common gang tattoo that means the wearer has done time in prison and he’d also killed someone.  I was hoping the bully would know this and think two teardrops on one side and another on the other side meant that I’d killed three times.”

“I guess it didn’t work then.”

“I think it did at first, because I saw him staring at them, but it didn’t totally work.  I’m not sure if he didn’t understand the meaning of the teardrop tats or he was just being reckless, but if he’d spun an actual gang member around like that, he probably would have found a knife in his gut for his effort.”

“Yeah, but he may have done that because he was worried that his friends were going to give him shit about being pushed around and not fighting back.  If that was the case, then I believe that feeling only intensified after he wound up in the lake.  He obviously wanted to prove he wasn’t afraid of you, even if it meant he had to fight and he might get the shit kicked out of him this time.”   

“Yeah, you’re probably right.”

Now that this had been cleared up, we continued heading back to where the SUV was parked, because we felt our parents would be there.  When we got back, they wanted to know where we’d been. 

“We just wanted to see if there was anyone we knew that was here at the park, while you guys were stopping and talking to people you knew.”

“Ok, then let’s have our dessert before it gets dark.” 

We took everything out of the SUV again and found a new spot to spread out the blankets, since someone was occupying the place we’d used earlier.  Our moms then served the strawberry shortcake they’d prepared for dessert, and they even brought a can of whipped cream to top it off.  It was a nice touch to end the meal, and then we settled in and talked for a while as we waited for the fireworks to begin. 

The fireworks show started off slowly, with just a single rocket being ignited and sent into the air at a time, and then it was followed by another one after a brief delay.  Those in charge also interspersed the various types of rockets so they didn’t all look the same as they followed one another into the sky.  All in all, there was a nice variety of fireworks, with some that whistled, others that popped, and then those that boomed when they went off. 

“I get a kick out of the fireworks that sound like firecrackers going off as they burst into different colored lights that appear as if they’re bugs scurrying around on a pond,” my mom stated. 

“I enjoy the ones the open up like flowers in bloom,” Ma countered. 

“I think the ones that open like umbrellas are kind of neat,” Pa added. 

“I prefer those with a loud boom that reverberates in my chest,” my dad followed.  “I’ve enjoyed that type since I was a kid.”

After a series of the individual rockets had been set off, the next rockets were fired off in clusters of two or three rockets at a time, and occasionally a fourth rocket was added  This is how things continued until the big finale, and that was when a group of approximately twenty rockets were fired off in rapid succession.  They not only lit up the entire sky, but they also filled the air with all types of explosions that created shockwaves we could all feel bouncing off our bodies  It was a dramatic and lovely ending to a wonderful day. 

As soon as the finale had faded from sight, those in the park raced to their vehicles so they could beat the traffic that was leaving.  There was so much traffic that it took quite a while for us to get back to the house, and when we arrived there we helped to unload the SUV.  After we finished taking everything inside, both sets of parents said goodnight and excused themselves before heading up to their rooms to turn in.  Devin and I stayed up a little longer and waited until our parents had time to fall asleep before we went up to my room. 

As soon as the door had closed behind us, we started kissing and rapidly undressed one another.  As soon as we were both naked, we took turns making love to one another and set off an entirely new set of rockets, but this time they went off inside our bodies.  And all the time this was happening, we were trying to be as quiet as possible so we didn’t wake up anyone else, and it must have worked, because they all seemed to sleep the entire night.

We say this because no one was up and moving around when we went to take our shower after we finished making love, and we didn’t see or hear anyone as we headed back to bed.  We merely returned to my room and cuddled with each other until we fell asleep, and it’s the way we remained until we woke up the next morning. 

By the time we went downstairs, our parents were already there, and none of them made any negative comments or teased us about the previous night, so all was good.  Instead, our moms were busy fixing breakfast for everyone; while our dads were chatting in the living room, and as soon as breakfast was ready, we all sat down to eat.  Shortly after we’d filled our plates, Pa let us know that he wanted to make a comment, so Devin and I held our breath until we heard what he had to say. 

“I want to thank you, Mike and Cindy, for your hospitality and for showing us such a wonderful time.”

“Yes, I really enjoyed it,” Ma added, “and I’m thrilled that you had Devin remind us to join you again.”

“We enjoyed it as well,” my dad confirmed.

“And I look forward to doing this every year from now on,” my mom added.

“And we agree,” Devin and I concurred.

As soon as the meal ended, each of the McCaskills and I went up to our rooms so we could pack up our belongings, and then Devin and I carried everything out to the appropriate SUV and placed it in the back.  Once everything was loaded, we said goodbye to my parents. 

“Devin and I will be back in two weeks so we can go on vacation with you, but now I’m looking forward to spending a little time at the cabin with Devin and his family.   We’ll return on Thursday evening at the end of the two weeks so we can catch our flight to Missouri the next day.”  

“That works for me,” my dad replied. 

“And have a good time at the cabin,” my mom followed.

“And when I return,” Devin added, “I’ll bring everything I’ll be taking to college with me, but I’ll leave those things here while we’re gone, because Mac and I will be leaving for Fort Collins shortly after we get back from Florida.”

“You can lock your SUV in our garage while we’re gone,” my dad stated.

“And my father is going to make certain the house in Fort Collins is ready for your arrival,” Pa chimed in.

Once we finished this discussion, we said a final goodbye to my parents as Ma and Pa were getting in their SUV.  As soon as we’d hugged both of my parents and my mom had given each of us a kiss on the cheek, Devin and I hopped into his SUV and prepared to follow Ma and Pa back to the cabin.