Roger is sitting in an oversized leather chair at the control panel when Keely and Angel walked up to the control room door. He’s listening to a song he and the band had recorded. He’s listening with his eyes closed. His feet are up on the chair next to him, wearing a huge smile on his face. Keely just smiled, watching her husband relish in his accomplishment. They were in a professional recording studio, laying down tracks on a song he wrote. After a minute of admiring the view, she opened the door and wheeled the carriage into the room. Getting his attention. “Hey Baby, what are you doing here?” he smiled getting up from his seat.
“Me and Angel had a date with Aunt Wendy and I didn’t feel like going home just yet. I missed you.” she smiled leaning up to kiss him.
“How’s my girl doing? Is she being good for mommy?” he asked looking down at his daughter.
“She’s great. She ate breakfast, we met up with Wendy and then she ate lunch. She slept most of the time, but she helped pick out a few outfits for her cousin.” she smiled as the baby slept in the carriage.
“You’re having fun hanging out with her, aren’t you?” he smiled with his arm around her shoulders.
“Don’t get any ideas, Greyson. I still wanna sing.” she laughed looking up at him.
“I’m not saying that. It’s just… you wanted to be a full time mom when you were pregnant, what specifically happened to change your mind when she was born?” he asked, curious.
“I realized that even though me and Angel were fine. When I went into premature labor, something could have happened to either one of us or both of us. Life is too short not to go all in.” she looked up at him.
“Nothing happened to you and Angel. You’re fine.” he told her as he wheeled Angel’s carriage to the corner of the control room.
“But things could have easily gone the other way. Roger, I’m just saying that I don’t want to regret anything. I want my daughter to be proud of me.” she sat on the couch.
“She will be proud of you no matter what, Keel. Just like I am.” he smiled at her.
“I don’t want her to be proud of me for just being her mother. I wanna earn it.” she leaned back, laying her head against the back of the couch.
“She will be proud of you. For a number of reasons, Keel. You are a force to be reckoned with. Don’t worry about that.” he sat next to her.
“With our HIV, we should be doing things to make our mark. You’re recording your album and I can’t wait to start mine. I wanna be in there with Nate, singing.” she looked up at him.
“Don’t even think about it, Keel. You have to wait a little longer. Doctors orders.” he got up to go to his daughter.
“I won’t sing before the doctor says so, but I’m dying here. I mean, I hear you singing and I hear you guys play together and I’m so proud of you. All of you. Then you hand me a bunch of songs to look over and it makes me want to get in there and sing with Nate.” she got up to go to him.
“I won’t risk your physical well being just because I’m dying to hear you sing my words. And I sure as hell will not have you singing in pain.” he looked at her.
“I know that, Roger. It’s just… I’m not as fragile as everyone thinks I am. I’ve been taking care of you and our daughter in addition to our house and myself. I’m healing pretty well.” she looked up at him.
“Keel, please. Don’t make me be the dick husband who holds his wife back, OK? I don’t want you to do any damage to yourself that could be permanent. I don’t want you to not be able to sing or dance again.” he turned to her.
“You could never be a dick husband, Roger. I hope you know that.” she wrapped her arm around his waist.
“I hope not, Keel. I just want to protect you, every way I can.” he looked down at her, putting his arms around her shoulders.
“You always have. Since the day we met.” she smiled, snuggling herself into his chest.
“How about I finish up here and I’ll take you out for dinner?” he asked before kissing her head.
“I have a better idea. We can go home and order in. I only have one more formula bottle and a half a water bottle left.” she looked up at him.
“OK, Baby. I get to have my girls all to myself.” he smiled as he leaned own to kiss her tenderly on the lips. She leaned up into him, deepening the kiss. She tightened her grip around his waist as he lifted his hand up to her face. Caressing her cheek with his thumb, she groaned slightly. “Keel, we… we need to stop.” he whispered, breaking the kiss.
“I miss you, Roger. You… you haven’t kissed me like that since before Angel was born.” she told him quietly.
“I’ve been afraid that if I start, I’m not gonna want to stop and the doctor said we can’t… for at least a few more weeks.” he continued caressing her cheek.
“I know. But I… I think we’re capable of making out without having sex. I mean, in the beginning when we were waiting for my results, we used to spend hours just kissing and laughing and getting to know each other.” she looked up at him.
“You’re right, Keel. I’m… I’m sorry. We’ve both been so busy. You with the house and taking care of Angel and me, and I’ve been recording… it’s hard to find time for us to just sit and be us. And worrying about you is a full time job sometimes.” he looked into her eyes. The eyes that have been knocking him on his ass since the day they met.
“We’ll always be us, Roger.” she smiled leaning up to kiss him again. Mid kiss, the baby started crying.
“Saved by the baby.” he laughed turning towards his daughter. “Hey Angel.” he smiled picking the baby up into his arms. Keely smiled up at them as her daughter and husband lit up in each other’s presence. She sat back on the couch, as Roger interacted with his daughter. As she leaned back, she rested her head on the back of the couch and quickly fell asleep. “She is gorgeous, isn’t she?” he asked Angel quietly, smiling at his wife. He brought the baby over to the control panel and explained what they all did. He lowered the volume as he played other songs for her. He had fun showing his infant daughter all of the workings of the recording studio, allowing his wife to take a nap.
About an hour later, Keely woke up and smiled over at her family. Roger was feeding Angel a formula bottle and the baby seemed to be comfortable. She couldn’t believe that this was her life. In a recording studio where her husband was recording an album and where she would soon be recording her album and he was feeding their infant daughter. As Roger turned the chair, he noticed that Keely was staring at them. “You two look so good.” she smiled looking over at them.
“How could I not look good holding our daughter?” he smiled at her. She got up to go to the carriage. “Where are you going?”
“Getting my camera. I want to catch as much of these moments as I can.” she smiled, bringing the camera up to her eye and taking pictures.
“I want Angel to have pleny of pictures of her and her old man.” he smiled at the camera as he continued feeding the baby.
Keely lowered her camera and looked over at him. “She… she will, Roger. You… you’re not going anywhere.” she stuttered looking over at her.
“I know, Keel. I just… I want her to have plenty of memories of me when I do go somewhere.” he looked at her.
“Roger, we’re both gonna be around for her for a long time. She’s not gonna only have these pictures as memories. She’s gonna remember us for the things we do, not for the things she sees in these pictures.” Keely got up from the couch and walked over to Roger and Angel.
“I hope so Keel, but we don’t know for sure. We’re HIV positive. This disease doesn’t care that we have a little girl who depends on us to be there for a long time.” he looked up at her.
“No, but we found out when we were in the early stages of our disease and we’ve been on meds ever since. We’re taking care of ourselves and each other. We’ll find out soon enough that Angel is fine and we’ll be so busy that all HIV will be is a few pills a day and we can raise our daughter and be with our family.” she smiled looking down at him.
“Love each other like crazy until it catches up to us, huh?” he smirked over at her.
“Pretty much.” she smiled back at him.
“You are one optimistic woman.” he smiled up at her.
“In this family, it helps.” she smiled, leaning down to kiss her husband before caressing her sleeping daughter’s head.
“I guess it does.” he smiled at her. “Why don’t I shut everything down here and we head home? I wanna have a quiet night at home with my girls.” he smiled standing up.
“Just put her in her carriage. She’ll never wake up.” Keely smiled putting her camera away.
“We got lucky, huh?” he looked down at her.
“She’s her father’s daughter. She values her sleep.” Keely laughed quietly.
“You’re welcome.” Roger laughed before going to the control panel and shutting everything down, so they could go home.
“Are you and Jason gonna be home for dinner on Sunday?” Keely asked as they walked through the streets of New York, going home.
“I’m gonna say yes, just to be safe. There’s no telling how they’ll react and I don’t want to catch you off guard.” he looked down at her.
“No matter what, everything is gonna be OK. If they accept him, that would be great. If they don’t, he has us and he always will. This is the only family he will ever need.” she looked up at him.
“Between you and me, I hope like hell they accept him. Otherwise, I don’t know how he’s gonna handle it and I… I’m not sure I’m the right person to go with him.” he confessed looking down at her.
“Why’s that?” she asked.
“If they don’t accept him, I’ll go off and I can’t promise that I’m not gonna make things worse.” he looked down at her.
“It’s gonna be fine. You’re gonna keep your cool because you’re there for Jason. You’re not there for the cause. Making a scene is not gonna help him. He needs you there to support him, not to defend him.” Keely told him, stopping in the middle of the sidewalk.
“I just want to fight for him the way he fought for me. He saved my life and was a real dick to me when I was going through withdrawal. He wasn’t doing it to be a dick, he did it to help me. I owe him for that. Big time.” he looked down into her blue eyes.
“So pay him back by being there for him. Not the gay rights movement.” she smiled up at him,
“But I can’t be held responsible for what I do if they freak out. I’ll flip.” he looked down at her.
“You’ll be fine, Roger. I have faith in you.” she smiled as they continued their walk home.
A few days later, Roger and Jason traveled on the Long Island Railroad to where Jason’s family lives, Jason’s nervous, but Roger tries to keep him calm. “What if they think you and me are together?” Jason asked looking over at Roger.
“Jay, they know I’m married and have a kid. I highly doubt they’re gonna think you and me are together. They know you don’t like to travel alone. It’s not a huge deal. Don’t worry about it.” Roger smiled at him.
“Right. I… I didn’t think of that.” he looked down as they sat in their seats.
“You need to calm down. If you go in there like you did something wrong, it’s gonna come off all wrong to them. Go in there and be confident. If you’re confident, they’ll be more likely to listen with an open mind.” he looked over at him.
“Thanks for coming with me, Rog. I really appreciate you doing this. It means a lot to me that you’re willing to go in there and stand by me no matter what happens.” he looked at him.
“Jay, you’ve done more for me than I can ever repay. This is the least I can do for you.” he smiled over at him as they enjoyed the rest of the ride in silence. Jason was nervous and Roger just hoped that he could keep his temper in check long enough to support his friend.
They arrived in Oyster Bay, Long Island and Jason’s father picked them up at the station to bring them to the house where Jason grew up. Jason’s mother and brothers were waiting for them to arrive. Jason talked about Keely and Angel and how beautiful his goddaughter is. After dinner, Jason decided to begin the conversation.
“Guys, um… I… I wanted to come out here and tell you something and it’s important, so I would really appreciate it if you can just sit and listen to everything I have to say before you say anything.” he looked over at them.
“What is it, son? Are you in trouble?” his father asked looking over at him.
“No… dad. I’m… I’m not in trouble. Actually, I’ve never felt better.” he smiled at Roger before looking at his family confidently. “I wanted to come here and tell you face to face that I’m gay.” he looked at them with his chin up and his chest puffed out.
“You’re… Jason, do you realize that that goes against everything we raised you to believe? It’s a sin. Why would you want to be gay?” his mother told him outraged.
“Do you really think I would choose this for myself knowing how you and the Catholic church feel about it? Knowing how you would look at me?” Jason got up, defending himself.
“Well, you weren’t gay when you left here to move to the city.” his father told him.
“Yes, I was dad. I felt like there was something wrong with me. I… I almost killed myself, but… Keely saved my life. She… she was the first person in my life who I told my secret to and she loved me anyway. The one person I could be myself with and she didn’t judge me for who I really was. This isn’t something I “picked up” in the city. It’s who I always was. It’s who I am.” he explained as Roger stood by Jason.
“Are you responsible for this?” Jason’s father asked Roger.
“No dad. Roger’s straight and you know that. He’s married with a baby girl, for godsakes. He’s my best friend and he accepts me for who I am because that’s the kind of person he is.” Jason explained.
“Well, I can’t have you here. Your lifestyle is a sin and that’s not how we raised you.” his father looked at him and went to the door.
“Dad, you… you can’t be serious. I… I didn’t choose this. It’s just who I am. I… I was born gay. Your all mighty God made me this way.” he looked at him.
“That is not true. God would never create you to be a sinner. To do those… nasty things that you people do.” his mother cried before rushing to her bedroom and slamming the door.
“Mom… I…” Jason started when his father rushed over to him.
“You need to go.” his father said as his brothers sat in silence.
“Jay, let’s go.” Roger took his friends arm gently, leading him out of the house.
“I’m sorry you all feel that way, but I won’t apologize for who I am. Those days are over.” he looked over at them.
“You shouldn’t have to.” Roger said looking at him before he turned to Jason’s family. “You’re all gonna miss out on a great person who does great things for not only his friends, but for the community. I feel sorry for you.” he told them before him and Jason left the house. They began walking to the train station. They walked in silence until they made it to the train platform.
“I… I can’t believe they did that.” Jason told him somberly as they sat on a bench.
“They don’t deserve to know you.” Roger looked over at him putting his arm around his friend.
“Why? Why can’t me being their son be enough for them to accept me?” he asked, starting to cry.
“It’s enough for us. That’s all that matters. You will always have a family with us.” he looked over at him, comforting him.
“I… I will always be grateful to you, Keely and the rest of our family. I would have killed myself had I not had you guys supporting me.” he looked at him.
“I will always support you, Jay. Nothing and no one could ever change that.” Roger comforted him as his best friend cried on his shoulder.
Later that night, Roger and Keely are in bed talking about the trip. Keely is obviously not happy. “I can’t believe they chose their religion over their son. What is wrong with these people?” she asked crying into Roger’s chest.
“I don’t know, Baby. But he has us and that’s all he needs.” Roger tried comforting his wife now. He knows how much Jason means to Keely and how much he loves her. They’re a family and they will always be a family. They’ve been through more than one family should have to go through together and they’ve survived.
“He doesn’t need them. He’s got us. Good riddance.” she looked up at him.
“That’s right, Baby. We are all the family he needs. He’s our brother and nothing will ever change that.” he looked down at her before kissing her head.