“You still here Timberlake? I thought I just told you to go get things ready for your wedding.” Fatone was beaming a cigar clenched between his teeth.
“Did you know sir . . . I mean before the raid, that the breeder was related to Trystum?”
Joey dropped his arm around Justin’s shoulder. “It wasn’t a coincidence that we were there. Trystum gave us a nudge in the right direction.”
The two northerners left quietly, leaving the breeders to say their goodbyes and congratulate both Joshua and his father on their reunion. “Joe, one breeder wasn’t worth the raid.”
Fatone took Justin by his arm and pulled him around the back of the building where they wouldn’t be overheard. “The raid was a decoy for an undercover operation. When Trystum told me about his son he mentioned the boy’s father. It was no other than General Chasez. We have a man on his staff and we needed to get him out.”
“And did we?” Justin asked curiously.
“He’s in a military hospital, he took a bullet to his shoulder, but he got the information out.” Joey looked thoughtfully at the sky and sighed. “He’s a good man, a good man. Why haven’t you started building your altar? I found you a husband the least you can do is make a pretty place for the boy to marry you in.”
Justin grinned. “I’m right on it Captain, I’ll see if the preacher is free to.”
“He is. Oh by the way Timberlake, did you get my truck?”
Justin ducked his head. “It’s parked behind the officers mess. Got to go captain I need to press my uniform.” he spun on his heel and charged off with his head down. The next thing he knew he was on his backside having collided with an immoveable object.
“Dude, did you get my truck?” Chris Kirkpatrick held his hand out, helping the younger man to his feet.
“Shit Chris, can’t you ask me a little louder, there’s a cook in Mississippi that didn’t hear you. I couldn‘t get one through supplies, I sort of commandeered one.”
Chris laughed, slapping Justin on the back. “You stole a truck! That’s priceless. Who’s?”
Chris paled. “You’re shitting me right?”
Justin shook his head. “If I were you I’d get them breeders loaded and out of here before he notices it’s missing. Shame too, I was going to invite you to my wedding.”
“You! You are getting married, to who?”
Justin beamed his million-watt smile. “Joshua,” he said as he ran off to get ready.
Joshua had got over the shock of meeting his maternal father for the first time and was curled up in the pregnant man’s lap, his head resting on his shoulder. “Are you sure I’m not hurting you or the baby,” he asked.
“I’m positive.” the last two hours had been spent with Joshua telling Trystum every little detail of his life so far. While the teen had talked the older man had listened, playing with his son’s hair, coiling it around his fingers, enjoying the silky texture.
“What’s the fascination with my hair?”
Trystum sighed and kissed Joshua’s head. “I’m betting that you have never had a hair cut in your life,” he said amusement in his voice. “How old were you when you rebelled and cut it yourself?”
“Fifteen, how did you know?” Joshua sat up so he could see his bearer.
“Because I was about that age when I snuck off our estate and went to the barbers shop alone.”
Joshua’s eyes were wide. “Didn’t you get into trouble?”
Trystum laughed. “I caused a terrible outrage. I walked into the shop and took off my veil and hood and demanded that the barber cut my hair. Of course they called my father. He was incensed. He wrapped a blanket around my head and pulled me out of the shop. I wasn’t allowed to take that blanket off for four hours. He made me stand in the corner of the room, not allowed to move all that time.” The older man stroked his son’s face as he continued with his story. “Then when he decided I had learned my lesson he unwound the blanket and kissed me, told me he loved me and that I was never to leave the grounds again, and certainly not face strip myself in public. But do you know what really made him angry?”
“That you tried to cut your hair.”
Trystum chuckled at his son’s perception. “What did you do Josh?”
“I cut my hair. I begged and begged daddy to let me. It was almost down to my waist but he always said no. A breeder always had long hair, he said. I hated it so much. It made me look like a girl.”
Trystum giggled. “And how would you know what a girl looked like?”
“I can read. Father gave me books. Some had pictures. Anyway that’s not the point. One night I took fathers shears and I cut it short, then I went down to dinner. Father never said a word. We ate dinner in polite conversation as usual. Then at the end of the meal he stood up and said. Joshua, you will go into your study and you will write on 40 pages of A4 paper, once on each line, back and front. I WILL NEVER CUT MY HAIR AGAIN. And Joshua, if you make one mistake, or it is not in your best hand you will do it again.“ Joshua leaned his head on his father. “He made me do it three times before he was satisfied. I was in tears by the end.”
Trystum hugged the teen tightly. “You know what he did with the sheets? He threw them away. He never even looked at them. I never cut my hair again.”
“Come on, its time to get you ready.” Trystum pushed Joshua off his lap and on to the floor, both men giggling like schoolboys.
Nervous was an understated word in Justin’s opinion. His heart was beating fourteen times to the dozen as he stood at the altar waiting for his ‘bride’ to put in an appearance. He checked his wristwatch for the fifth time in the last minute. Joshua was late. Ten minutes late to be precise. Justin licked his dry lips and stared pleadingly at his commanding officer.
Joey just grinned and mouthed,“breeders prerogative.”
Justin mouthed back, “what?” and Fatone rolled his eyes in exasperation.
He leaned his mouth close to the groom’s ear. “I said it’s the breeders prerogative. Trystum requested a traditional breeders wedding, like the ones they were promised as boys growing up in the south. From what he was telling me, we could all be in for a bit of a surprise and defiantly see more than we expect too.”
Justin screwed up his nose in confusion. “See more what?” he asked.
Just then there was a polite cough attracting everyone’s attention. Trystum stood at the end of the makeshift aisle. “Gentlemen, may I present my son, Joshua.”
Joshua stepped into view. He was dressed in a long white robe that trailed along the floor. Its cut was similar to the black street robes that he had worn when he first arrived. A heavy white hood edged with white fur covered his head, obscuring his face. Joshua walked slowly towards Justin, his head slightly lowered; Trystum walked a pace behind him. When Joshua reached Justin’s side his father paused just behind him. The young man’s shoulders were slightly shaking and he was breathing rapidly.
Trystum lowered the robes hood and then reached around Joshua’s waist and pulled the robe undone sliding it off the young man’s shoulders. There was a collective gasp, and Justin swallowed loudly unable to tear his eyes from his future husband.
Joshua was using every ounce of control he could muster just to stand still and not bolt, but this was the wedding he had been brought up to expect. This was the way he was meant to be seen on his wedding day. Excruciatingly slowly Joshua lifted his head and made eye contact with Justin. Worry etched itself over his face as he waited to see if Justin would find him acceptable.
The soldier’s eyes drank in Joshua’s appearance. The brunette teen’s hair had been woven with Lilly of the Valley and had been pulled forward so that it curled prettily around his face. His eyes had been rimmed with dark blue kohl and his lips were coloured a dusky pink, but that wasn’t the most startling thing. Joshua was naked.
Justin let his eyes travel from Joshua’s eyes down his torso and over his lower body. He couldn’t help but lick his lips at the sight of the thick limp member that lay nestled in a soft thatch of golden brown hair.
The preacher cleared his throat and Justin tore his eyes away and faced the military minister.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here on this auspicious occasion to witness the union between Justin and Joshua. It is made more special by the fact that Joshua is blessed with fertility.”
The preacher turned to Justin.
“Justin. Joshua stands before you baring all that he is to you. He hides nothing from you. Do you accept him and the precious gift that he brings to your union?”
“I accept him with all my heart,” Justin’s voice cracked a little ending up almost as a squeak.
The preacher turned to Joshua. “Joshua, do you accept Justin as your husband? Do you promise to love him and bare his children?”
“I do,” Joshua, breathed his answer.
Trystum draped the robe around Joshua’s shoulders. Reaching out he took his son’s and Justin’s right hands, binding them together with a length of white silk. He kissed Joshua’s mouth softly. “Be happy my darling, may god bless you.” He nodded briefly at Justin and turned and left, going back to the now empty building that once housed the breeders.
Joey patted Justin on the back and leaned in whispering into his ear. “I have arranged for you and your husband to use the officers quarters that are empty, for a couple of hours. Then I’m afraid that you will have to leave. We are mobilising at 16:00 hours and moving out.”
“Thank you captain. Joshua and I are grateful.” Joey smiled and patted Justin on the back once more before leaving to finish off his paperwork.