Embracing True Colors - Last Part

By Fahrenheit80 published April 12, 2011
Summary
Everybody discovers true love
Josh tried to keep a smile on his face while he was watching his children, enjoying a great family time in the ice cream parlor. Soon he would have to take them home to their mother, in other words, he would have to face the inevitable as soon as night was falling, calling the end of a long and beautiful day.

Was he ready for that? He didn't know. And he didn't want to give it a single thought.

As time passed Josh got more and more nervous. He was afraid of saying goodbye to his children. Now, of all times Stevie, Jo and Baby Wally had recaptured his heart. And it would certainly break in two if he had to separate from them. Stevie had finally opened up to him. Jo had forgotten her sadness over the long distance between her old and new home. Baby Wally was... just happy to eat ice cream.

When Josh couldn't take it any longer he went outside to make a call. He stayed at the window to keep an eye on his children. They were just sitting behind the glass panel, eating ice cream and talking about stuffs that only made sense to people around their age. School. Children's television series. The latest toys in the market that were anything but cheap.

"How are you doing, darling," the deep voice of a man asked Josh at the other end of the phone. It was Jeff, his roommate and lover. It was obvious that he was in high spirits - in a sexual way, and that he was desperate for some pleasure time.

"Just fine. Actually, I'm doing great," Josh replied.

"So, when are you going to ditch the kids and head to the party?"

"I don't know if I still want to go."

"What," Jeff shouted in disbelief. "You were talking about the party the whole week. I even bought a new harness and a collar."

"I have a change of heart," Josh suggested. "There's something else I want to talk about."

"What?"

"I want to see my lawyer and ask him to make an application for joint custody. I've decided... well... to be an active part of the lives of my children."

"Well, darling, let me make it short: That's out of the question."

Josh paused for a moment. "Why?"

"Darling, darling, darling, how many times do I have to tell you that I don't like kids," Jeff sulked. "We've already got too much drama going on in our lives right now. We don't need any more of it. Besides, you are a porn actor and you sell your ass to every guy who can afford your lifestyle. There is no chance that you will be given joint custody."

"Then I will stop making porn and doing the escort business. How about that?"

"Darling, darling, darling, we both know that you are not only doing it for the money," Jeff giggled. "Just come home and let me remind you why we don't want kids in our lives. I've bought a very interesting toy for your beautiful bubble butt. I can't wait to put in into your ass."

"Jeff, I'm serious. I want to be a father to my children who cares for them," Josh shouted.

"And I want to fuck your ass until you cry for more. Come home. Let me pull down your clothes and enjoy the powerful thrusts of my amazing cock. Let me fill you. Let me cover your body with my tasty cream. Eat it. Smell it. Rub it on your skin."

"Go fuck yourself!" And with that Josh hung up.

Just a second later he was shocked by the realization that he shared his bed with that guy. Furthermore, he was turned on by his words. Then it hit him. The man who was sticking his big fat member up his ass and was fucking him on a daily basis was nothing but a self-centered, sex-obsessed and dumb narcissist. He didn't care for him let alone his children. As a matter of fact, he only cared for himself.

How could he be so blind? How could he ever believe that Jeff was helping him to become the man he was meant to be? How could he place his trust in him?

Over the years Josh was living an illusion. He finally came to realize it. It was an undeniable fact that he was attracted to men. Nothing would change that. He loved cocks. The bigger the better. But that was just his sexuality. He didn't have to make porn. He didn't have to get fucked by men for money. He didn't have to show the whole world that he had a leather fetish. All he had to do was to admit his homosexuality. "I'm gay and proud of it!"

However, he was too late. In less than two hours he would lose his children. And why was he making a fool of himself since the truth was crystal clear? Nobody would bet a dime on his chance to get joint custody. At the end it would be wasted effort.

As the realization slowly came to his mind Josh wanted to cry. He wanted to load Stevie, Jo and Baby Wally into the car and to drive off. Why did he end up in this situation? All he wanted was to be true to himself. If he knew that it would cost him the love of his children he would turn back the clock and gladly stay in the closet.

Yes, he was born this way. But he was also a father. Making love to men wasn't the same as feeling love for his children. The latter was unconditional, ever-lasting – the purest of all kind of love people could experience.

Josh turned around and looked up to set his eyes on them. At that moment they fogged-up the window and drew messages that were addressed to him. Jo made a heart around the word "Daddy". Stevie wrote "Me too", while Baby Wally tried to draw a face with a smile. He failed. But in the eyes of his father it was a masterpiece.

When they finished their work Josh couldn't help himself but to smile. His children loved him no matter what. For that very reason he had to keep on praying for a miracle to happen. No, he couldn't just stand there doing nothing. He had to fight. He had to gather all his courage.

Finally, Josh decided to face his past...

In the meantime Cindy and Lori experienced an encounter of the supernatural kind. More precisely, Toby's ghost made an unexpected appearance. At least Lori believed she saw him going up the staircase. And that was exactly what they were doing now – going up the staircase, or in other words: They were chasing a dead boy.

Cindy tried to rationalize the situation. She asked Lori if she was getting enough sleep or if she was eating enough food. At the sight of her body Cindy wasn't sure about her physical condition. In fact, she was skinny in an unhealthy way. Everything led her to the conclusion that she was suffering from eating disorders.

Lori didn't want to comment on that. She was sure that her dead cousin was helping them to find Edward. To Cindy's surprise, they really did find him – on the roof, standing on the railing, ready to jump!

"Edward," Lori shouted. "Don't do that!"

"Are you an idiot? Which part of the message didn't you understand," Edward asked. "I don't deserve to live. I thought I have made myself clear."

"You are the idiot," Cindy intervened. "Nothing will be gained if you jump. Nothing but sorrow and anger."

"Actually, I don't care."

Lori shook her head. She couldn't believe his words. Then it came out of her mouth, "I saw Toby!"

Edward laughed. "Yeah, right."

"I swear I saw him. He was leading us to you."

Edward turned around. He could read on Lori's face that she was dead serious. But still he was sure that she was mistaken. Last year Toby committed suicide. He hung himself. And the one who was responsible for the tragedy was Edward.

"I know what you did," Cindy said. "Lori told me everything."

Edward stepped back.

"Don't you dare taking another step!"

But Cindy's threat fell on deaf ears. "What," Edward asked. "You're going to jump after me?"

"Yes, I'm going to jump after you, and then I will beat the crap out of you. There's no way you will go unpunished."

"I'm already punished. I killed my best friend. I put him on the list just to be one of the popular kids. I didn't do anything to stop them from bullying him. I knew that he wasn't able to cope with them. I knew that he would do something like that. But still I didn't do anything." Edward tried to keep smiling. However, his eyes filled with tears while his face turned into a mask, hiding a young man who was ashamed of himself.

Lori shook her head. "It wasn't your fault. You didn't take part in the bullying."

"Are you sure about that? Remember the spiders? That was my idea. By the way, they were about to put your name on the list, too."

Lori was shocked. "Why," she asked him in disbelief.

"Because of your anorexia and your pretentious behavior," he replied. "There are people who actually don't like you. Do you believe that? It was a decision between you and Toby. And I was the one who made the final decision. I was the one who decided to put Toby on the list. If it weren't for him your life would be turned upside down. In a way he saved you. But nobody could save him but me. And I didn't do anything because I was too afraid to lose my social position. I wanted to be one of the popular kids at school. I wanted that everybody kept looking up to me. For that purpose I killed my best friend... That's why I don't deserve to live."

Edward took another step. He opened his arms. And when Lori let out a scream he threw himself from the railing. His whole life flashed through his eyes. There were moments of happiness, moments of sorrow, moments of anger and moments of pure beauty. Then he recalled his last talk with Toby. His best friend told him something very important. But he couldn't remember his final words to him. Not matter what he did they remained in the shadow and would go unheard forever.

"Don't you dare," Cindy shouted. In a split second she managed to grab his hand. But it wasn't over yet since Edward was heavy and Cindy was too weak to hold a football player full of massive muscles. Even when Lori came to assist her it was impossible for the two women to pull him to safety all by themselves.

"Help! Somebody!"

Edward looked up. He set his eyes on Lori and asked her to let go of him. "Just give up."

"No," she cried. "I won't let you die! I don't want anybody to die! I couldn't save Toby when I found him! I couldn't do anything because I didn't know what to do at that moment!"

Edward wished he could wipe off her tears. He loved her. He really did since the day they first met. They were destined to be together, destined to be married, destined to become the best parents and grandparents in the world, destined to die in each other's arms. But at the same time he believed that he didn't deserve a girl like her. He was a murderer, a bastard, an idiot that only thought of himself.

Then he saw him. He was standing next to Lori and joined the women in their attempt to save him by holding his hand. "Toby?" On the one hand Edward was shocked at the sight of his best friend; on the other hand he was happy to see him again. Because he was sure that he would go straight to hell.

"Remember what I told the day before I died," Toby yelled.

All of the sudden, the words that were once forgotten came back to Edward's mind. The day Toby committed suicide they were talking on the phone. He didn't sound desperate at all as they were joking about some old stuff from their childhood. They talked and talked. And all the while Toby didn't show any signs of unhappiness. "Sometimes people have to die to remind those who are left behind that life is beautiful," were his last words before he hung himself.

"Which part of my message didn't you understand," Toby asked. "Was my death in vain? Stay alive, you son of a bitch! Don't make her life miserable! Or I'm going to beat your sorry ass! I swear if you make her cry I'm going to ruin your afterlife."

Edward knew that Toby would never carry out his threats. Nevertheless, he was frightened as he remembered the time after his best friend's suicide. The days, weeks and months were painted in sorrow. Until now the people who were close to him were still struggling with life without him. Edward didn't want to hurt them - again. At that very moment he realized he was about to do the most stupid thing in the world.

"Don't leave me," Lori shouted. And finally, he listened to her. Once he got a hold of the railing he climbed up. Unfortunately, it wasn't over yet. He had to face Lori's wrath in form of a slap in the face.

"You idiot," she cried hitting his big chest over and over again until her hands got numb. "You stupid, stupid, stupid!" When Lori lost her voice she fell into his arms, and Edward couldn't help himself but to hold her tight. "Never let me go," she whispered. "Because I don't know what to do if you're gone. I've already lost someone I love. I don't want to lose you, too." Then she closed her eyes and wished she could finally fall asleep, locking herself in his powerful embrace. She didn't recognize Toby who carefully wipe off her tears.

Nobody could see or hear him. After all, he didn't belong to the world of the living anymore. But even in death he would do anything just to tell his beloved cousin that from now on she would be happy. He was sorry for all the sadness she had to go through. It wasn't his intention. If he knew she would suffer that much he wouldn't have hung himself. Lori was his only family. She was his sister, his friend and the only woman he truly loved.

"Take good care of her," he said to Edward. And with the next breeze he took his leave with a peaceful smile on his face...

Meanwhile, Brent was overwhelmed by a never-ending stream of emotions. He stroked Tom's hair, and touched his cheek. Then his hand went down to his neck, his chest and the big tool he was hiding under his leather jockstrap. It wouldn't take long and Brent would make him his lover. He would show him what a man could do to another man. First he would give Tom the best blowjob of his life. After all, Brent's cocking skills weren't highly praised by his fuck buddies for nothing, let alone his hungry hole that led to indescribable satisfaction. By the end of the day Tom would change teams and there wouldn't be a day he would regret it. Brent, for his part, would do anything to keep him and to make him the happiest man on earth. He took Tom's member in his hand and started gently stroking it.

"I want to suck you off," he whispered into his lover's ear. "I want to taste you. I want to feel you. I want to give you everything."

Unfortunately, their special moment came to an abrupt end when Tom pushed him away.

"I'm sorry," he said, heavily breathing. "I didn't want to..." He was unable to finish his sentence since his mind was in an uproar.

"It's going too fast, isn't it," Brent suggested. "Don't worry. From now on, I will go slowly. Just let me take the lead."

Tom shook his head. "We should stop."

"Why?"

"I like you, I really do," Tom admitted. "You're the hottest guy in the world. And I would like to... try out new things... But..." He showed Brent his wedding ring. "I only have one heart to give."

"I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you find a new love." Brent made another attempt to take their friendship to the next level. Again, he faced rejection.

"I don't need another love," Tom said. "I'm already satisfied. I know she is long gone. I know that I can't bring her back to life. But I still love her. And it won't change. If I start a relationship with you it will turn out to be a lie... You will face disappointment... You deserve someone who can truly love you."

Brent sighed. "I can't win against your wife, can I," he asked. "You love her even in death?"

"I didn't intend to hurt you."

"Don't worry," Brent said. "I can live with that..." He tried to smile. "Your wife was a very lucky woman."

"I'm a very lucky man."

Brent stood up. Although his intimate moment didn't end up like he thought it would he wasn't unhappy with the outcome. In fact, he was glad that Tom backed off. He didn't fall in love with him because he was the most handsome guy in the world. It was his honest character that made him feel that way. "So, what are we going to do with the rest of our time?"

"You don't want to take pictures of me anymore?"

"I'm satisfied." Brent took a seat in the armchair and gave Tom an amused look.

"Stay where you are!" Tom jumped to his feet. He rushed to one of the bags and pulled out a pencil and a sketch block.

"You want to draw a picture," Brent giggled.

"I want to draw a picture of the hottest guy on earth."

Brent was flattered by Tom's words. The whole situation reminded him of a scene from one of his all-time favorite movies. It revolved around the story of a young couple. While the man was a penniless painter the woman was born into a wealthy family and therefore off limit for commoners let alone men who had to face many obstacles to make it to month's end. Moreover, she was engaged to a self-centered millionaire. Despite the difference between their social standings they met by chance and soon became lovers. At the end he sacrificed his life so she could survive the sinking of their ship.

Before Tom would give in to his creative urge Brent decided to spice things up. He put off his clothes and fell back into the armchair, doing the same pose as the leading lady in the movie scene.

Tom needed a few minutes to become accustomed to Brent's naked and muscular body that was a work of art itself. His nipples were pierced and adorned with golden rings. Several tattoos covered his right bicep, his shoulder, his big chest and his amazingly ripped abs. In Tom's sight Brent was close to perfection.

Then it began. His pencil literally moved by itself. Nothing could stop him now as he only had eyes for Brent. He wanted to catch his undeniable beauty. He wanted to produce a masterpiece that would inspire people for hundreds of years. He wanted to make him immortal.

Brent, for his part, had other things in mind. To be honest, the result didn't matter to him. All he wanted was to enjoy their remaining hours together. Although their relationship would never go any further he was eager to have a great time with him – as friends.

Nevertheless, Brent held on to his dreams. One of them involved a wedding ceremony. Another one took place in a dungeon, on a white beach, at a romantic restaurant, in the woods. There were all kinds of different situations. And they were about him and Tom doing stuffs that only men could do.

While he was dwelling in his dreams he didn't notice that he was getting a hard-on.

"You want to share your thoughts," Tom chuckled.

"Did you say something?"

"No, I'm just talking to myself."

"How about you tell me about your wife," Brent asked.

"There's nothing great about her," Tom said. "She was my lover, my best friend, my life, the mother of my precious daughters, my kindred soul. She is the guardian angel who will remain in my heart, in my dreams and in my prayers until the day we will be reunited."

Tom's words hit Brent hard and almost brought him to tears. Again, he realized he had no chance against a dead woman let alone against the bound that was tying their souls together. He had to admit it for the rest of his life: There was no place for him in Tom's kind heart. But to his own surprise Brent could accept this fact. "I'm jealous," he sighed. "I wish I had someone like her."

"I'm sure you already found her... or in your case ‘him', although gender doesn't really matter. After all, we are all people. We come to this world, live our lives, and one day we die, leaving behind nothing but the people who love us. And love is and always will be boundless..."

Dusk was falling. In the meantime, Josh was sitting in his car with his children on the back seat. He was afraid of getting out. As soon as he would open the car door he would take Stevie, Jo and Baby Wally back home.

Josh couldn't believe how fast the hours went by. Time surely wasn't running in his favor. The day was about to end, and there he was, counting the seconds, then the minutes, imaging different scenarios when confronting his greatest fear.

"What are we waiting for," Stevie asked.

Josh couldn't come up with an answer. He tried to smile. "Nothing," he said after a moment of silence. "I was just thinking... Did you have a great time?"

"Yes," Jo replied.

Baby Wally raised his arms in the air. "I want more Daddy ice cream," he shouted.

"What about you, Stevie," Josh asked his eldest son.

"It was okay," he said. "For a start."

Josh was relieved. At least they were able to make a few beautiful memories. Even if he failed to ask his ex-wife's forgiveness he would cherish the love he had for his children for the rest of his life. "Time sure flies," he whispered and took a deep breath.

"Do you have any other plans for today," Stevie asked.

"No," was his father's answer.

"You can stay over for tonight," Jo suggested. "You can sleep in my bed or in Baby Wally's. He always sleeps with mommy."

Josh laughed. "I guess I'm too heavy... But I can sleep on the couch. Of course, I have to ask your mommy for permission..."

He had to take his courage into both hands. Nothing could be created out of nothing. Therefore, if he wanted to make a difference there was no way around the conversation he had been trying to avoid for the last three years.

"So, shall we go home?"

The following steps were the hardest in Josh's life. His feet hurt as if he was walking on hot coals. He even got teary-eyed. However, he did everything in his power to hide his pain. And then, in the blink of an eye he was standing face to face to her, his ex-wife.

"You're late," she said.

"I'm sorry," Josh stammered. He forced himself to stay calm. Of course, he failed miserably. Everyone could read his nervousness on his face.

His ex-wife recognized that something changed. But she couldn't figure out what it was exactly. Her only clues were the children who seemed to have a wonderful day.

"Don't you want to come in," Jo asked her father.

"You should go first," he replied. "I have to talk to mommy."

When their children were gone his ex-wife confronted him. "What do you want to talk about?"

"Erm... I have been thinking."

"About what?"

"I thought I could see the children more often," Josh said. "I realized they need their father. And I need them."

"I agree with that. Our children need a father to be around who takes care for them, who protects them, who takes responsibility," his ex-wife commented. "You had your chance. And you blew it."

"Give me another chance. I promise that I will try hard this time."

His ex-wife shook her head. "Do you know the reason why I decided to move back to our old hometown? It's because of you. You hurt them so many times. You didn't show off at their birthday parties, on Christmas day, at Easter. And the saddest part is that they always forgive you. It's alright if you make my life miserable. But I don't want our children to suffer."

"I've changed," Josh claimed.

"In just one day?"

"Yes."

"I remember the last time you told me that you had changed," his ex-wife sighed. "It was the day you left. You told me: ‘This is not who I am. I can't stay. I have to start over.' It took me a very long time to understand that you would never come back and to gain the strength to move on with my life with three children in tow. And now you're here asking me if you can visit our children more often. Do you really thing I would let that happen after all you did? On that day not only did you leave me you also turned your back on our children."

"I know I can't expect your forgiveness," Josh said. "But please let me make things right for our children. On that day I was confused. I didn't know who I was or what I wanted to do with my life. I was unhappy. And I still was until today. I realized I am a father who loves his children. I would do anything for them. I would give up my life for them. Just to be with them. All I want is another chance. I really want to prove myself worthy to be a part of their lives. Without them I am nothing. I can't go any further."

"To be honest, I don't care," his ex-wife suggested. "However, I can't take their father away from them. I want them to know that you love them. I want them to know that it wasn't their fault that our marriage fell apart."

"Then give me another change."

"Josh, you can come over anytime you want. You can always visit them. But you have to come. You have to be there for them."

"I will."

"But if you ever hurt them again..."

Josh interrupted his ex-wife. "That won't happen."

She didn't expect that much determination from Josh. What exactly did happen today? His sudden change of heart frightened her. At the same time it was something she had been wishing for. Like every other mother out there she would do anything for her children's happiness. If it meant to put her anger aside, so be it!

"Then it's alright. But I will be on my guard until the day I can finally trust you," she said to Josh. "Well, it's late... I have to prepare dinner. You should better go home."

Before his ex-wife could close the door Josh rose to speak. "I thought I could stay over. Can I?"

"I don't know... Where do you want to sleep?"

"On the couch."

"It's already loaded in the van."

Josh shrugged his shoulders. "Then on the floor. I just want to be with them tonight."

His ex-wife wasn't sure about that. However, when she looked into his eyes she couldn't deny his request. Moreover, she wished that someday she would be able to forgive him for all the pain he caused over the last three years. She wished that the love he had for his children now wasn't just temporary. But to establish clarity she had to take the risk. After all, her children needed their father, especially Stevie who was about to reach a difficult age. And to be honest, she still loved him despite the fact that he would never look at her the way he used to when they were happily married. Their time together appeared like a dream. For her the dream had come to an end but not for her children. They should dream on as long as possible.

"Alright," she said and right after that she opened a new chapter in her life and enabled Josh to make things right.

He stepped in. To his dismay, there was nothing left from his old life as the belongings were loaded in boxes or were already on the way to their new location. Ten years of memories were erased within a day. And soon another family would move in his old apartment.

Still, Josh could hear the voices of the past. He remembered the place where Stevie and Jo took their first steps in exploring life. He remembered the markings on the doorframe they used to chart their growth. He remembered the evenings he read bedtime stories to them. Those days were over but they would remain in his heart. He promised he would treasure them for the rest of his life. And now it was time to make new memories.

Josh went into the living room and joined his children who were waiting for him. But this time he really came...

The day was coming to an end. On the one hand Cindy Miller could hardly wait to go home and to take a well-deserved nap; on the other hand she was relieved to see Edward finally making the right decision. Just now he was getting ready for his confession to a police officer. He wanted to talk about the people who were responsible for the bullying at school. After that it wouldn't take long and everything would come to light, and hopefully, those souls who couldn't be saved would rest in peace.

At the sight of Edward and his beautiful girlfriend Lori who stayed by his side to comfort him during his confession Cindy wished them a great time. Indeed, their lives were tied to an extraordinary future.

One week from now: The bullies are accused by the families of their victims. At the same time the principal of their school has to resign after it is revealed that he supported the bullying and forced the teaching staff to keep their mouths shut.

Two years from now: The new principal erects a memorial in honor of the four students who committed suicide.

Three years from now: Thanks to Edward's testimony the bullies and his former principal are sentenced to pay $ 5 Million to each of the families' victims. The verdict ruins their lives. The former principal will be committed to a mental institution after a failed suicide attempt. In his remaining six years he will blame gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people for his misery.

Twelve years from now: Edward, now a doctor, and Lori, a prep school teacher, celebrate their wedding. Nine months later their first child will be born. They will give him the name Toby.

Sixteen years from now: Edward and Lori open several orphanages for children who lost their parents due to a sexual transmitted disease that claims the lives of 100 Million people within three years. One of the orphans will become a famous writer and a philanthropist.

Twenty-seven years from now: Edward and Lori attend the speech of the first gay contender for President of the United States. After a bomb explosion that kills one hundred and nineteen men, women and children, armed members of a radical anti-gay group go on a killing spree among the survivors. Although heavily injured Edward manages to save dozens of people. He survives the massacre. Lori, however, sacrifices her life when a man tries to shot a lesbian couple who will become the mothers of the third gay President of the United States. Her last words are: "Stop, they are people!" After her death people around the world who will get to know her life story as a devoted Christian and philanthropist will make several requests to the Vatican for her beatification. Unfortunately, they will fall on deaf ears.

Fifty years from now: Edwards who never remarried dies after a long illness. He is laid to rest next to his beloved wife Lori. In the following decades people will claim to be miraculously healed from their illness when the passed by their graves that will slowly turn into a pilgrimage site. The Vatican will have no other choice but to canonize Edward and Lori and to start the reformation of the church.

Back in the present day Cindy Miller received a text message from a colleague. A dead man who matched the description of her missing husband was sent to the morgue. Cindy took another look at Edward and Lori. The young couple reminded her of the good old times when she was young and madly in love with her husband Joe. However, Edward and Lori would never be apart since a guardian angel was watching them.

Cindy thought of going to the morgue. Maybe, this time she would finally reach clarification. But at the end she changed her mind. She didn't want to damp her spirits. Instead, she gave her best friend Brent a call.

"Hi there, how are you," Cindy asked.

"I'm fine."

"Did you get some sleep?"

"No," Brent replied. "But I'm not tired anymore. I've made a new friend."

"That's great."

"Unfortunately, he had a crush on me. I explained to him that I wasn't interested."

"He must be a very ugly guy," Cindy suggested.

"Not really. To be honest, he was incredibly handsome. But I wasn't in the slightest attracted to him."

"Not in the slightest?"

"Well, perhaps a bit."

They talked a few more minutes until Brent had to go to do his first performance on television. Tom accompanied him to the studio and made sure that he didn't freak out.

When the show's host Anna Tober stepped into his dressing room she remarked that Brent and Tom made a beautiful couple. They didn't correct her. Instead Brent pretended to be head over heels in love and gave Tom a passionate kiss. It wouldn't be their last one. However, from that day on they remained friends, never going any further.

A few months later Tom would be scouted by a modeling agency and start a successful career as a model despite being in his late 30s. Fashion designers all over the world would do anything to book him for their shows. He would even have the opportunity to run the catwalks in Paris, Milan, Tokyo and New York, and to design his own line of men's underwear. Although he would make a fortune he would invest his money in his daughters' education and prefer the simple everyday life.

Finally, the show began. Brent was announced by Mrs. Tober with great enthusiasm. It was no secret that she had become a big fan of his music. She even dared to call him the ‘gayer version' of Lady Gaga.

Brent entered the stage with a few members of the gay men's chorus from his hometown, as always, dressed in a skin tight leather outfit that brought out the best parts of his muscular body. But before he would start his performance he gave a speech about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth bullying. "I want to dedicate the following song to the victims and their families. Furthermore, I hope that it will reach the people who intend to do something very stupid at that very moment. I want to advise you to change your mind. Life is hard. Life is frightening. Life can pull you down. You will face many obstacles on your way. But at the end you will come to realize that life is beautiful, and it doesn't matter who you because we are all the same."

Amid loud applause Brent and the chorus members started to sing with all their hearts a cover version of Cindy Lauper's ‘True Colors'...


INTERLUDE

The day was over. Madame Oh closed her beauty shop and bid farewell to the spirits who can finally rest in peace. Toby was the last one. He stayed a little longer to give his thanks to her. If she hadn't summoned him his best friend Edward would have joined him to the realm of the dead.

"I just did my job," Madame Oh said. "I wish I could have done more for you."

"You can't have your eyes everywhere," Toby replied.

"Can I do something for you?"

Toby laughed. "You could bring me back to life."

"I'm sorry."

"I know."

Madame Oh summoned a breeze that led Toby the way to the sweet hereafter. Then she headed to one of the mirrors and commanded it to show her Josh.

He was lying on the floor of his children's bedroom, wrapped in a blanket. But he wouldn't be alone for long. First his eldest son Stevie laid himself down next to his father. Jo joined them right after. And last but not least Baby Wally crawled under his blanket.

"Good night," the toddler whispered to Josh and kissed him on the cheek before falling to sleep - locked in his father's tight embrace...


END

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