It’s fourteen years to the day since Zack Pierce and Sam Patterson declared their love for each other.
the two men’s lives have settled into cozy domesticity. Zack is now the town’s doctor and Sam works as a police officer. However, news that their best friends Billy and Pete’s surrogate baby is due to be born sooner than expected causes the men to put their anniversary celebrations on hold.
Events during the next twelve hours will strengthen the bonds of family, love and loyalty.
The grandfather clock in the hallway began to chime five. All was on schedule. The pork tenderloin was just about ready, the water for the baby carrots, snow peas and sweet potatoes was just coming to the boil. Dessert and a tossed salad were chilling in the fridge. Sam took a moment to run a critical eye over the table setting: his dad’s best china, a bunch of roses from Mrs. Jenkins’ garden, the candlesticks Zack had picked up at a yard sale the previous year, and Zack’s special gift safely tucked away in the top drawer of the bureau.
“Fourteen years. Who’d have thunk it.”
Who’d have thought Sam, big, goofy, easy-going Sam would have been able to attract -- much less keep -- Zackary Pierce. Zack was the most handsome, hell, fuckin’ studliest jock at their high school. Sam knew Zack could have had anyone he’d have wanted, boy or girl. But after that fateful night Zack had been his.
Sure, the two of them had had their challenges. For a long time Zack hadn’t felt comfortable coming out to anyone. However, it didn’t take a genius to work out that something in the normally cocky, pussy-hunting Zack had changed. Zack no longer partied every weekend. He no longer chased after anything in a skirt, and he no longer drank, or smoked dope.
Sam hadn’t had to force Zack into sobriety, Zack had chosen that course all on his own. When they were by themselves Zack was loving, even clingy and needful. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Zack would often say.
Sam knew without a doubt Zack had been the best thing that’d ever happened to him. They would spend hours just lying in each other’s arms, kissing. Heck, even after fourteen years that was still their favorite thing to do.
College had presented them with their biggest challenge. Zack had gotten a football scholarship and was paranoid that his team mates would find out about him and Sam being a couple. Yes, they’d argued, and more than once one or the other of them had spent the night sleeping on the sofa in their tiny off-campus apartment. But their love for each other had seen them through. After his final game Zack had gathered the team around him and come out. Sam had only learned about this after the event. Zack hadn’t wanted to tell him in advance just in case he’d chickened out.
Turned out most of them knew or at least suspected. Zack had said one or two assholes couldn’t get their heads around the fact their first-string quarterback was queer, but had to admit despite being a fag, Zack was the shit where football was concerned.
Sam had punched Zack on the shoulder at that point and told him he was showing off. Then he’d kissed him passionately, telling his partner he was proud of him.
Zack coming out had meant Sam could do the same, and wasted no opportunity in doing so. Zack and Sam had been a nine-day-wonder, and college life had soon got back to normal for the most part. Except Zack and Sam had occasionally been seen walking across campus holding hands.
The second biggest challenge they’d faced was telling Zack’s parents. It hadn’t gone well. Zack, although he’d never admit it, idolized his dad, constantly seeking his approval. Sam had had to sit up for many nights trying to answer impossible questions posed by an inconsolable Zack. The words and accusations flung around the night of Zack’s coming out had been harsh, hurtful and damaging.
Eventually, after a huge amount of patience and promises to try hard to understand, a kind of agreement had been brokered between father and son. Alas, they’d never managed to recapture what had once been. Sam was always civil and polite to Mr. Pierce, and the old man would grunt, nod and ask Sam if he wanted a glass of Bourbon. Although not liking the stuff -- it reminded Sam too much of the night when he’d come across a drunk and highly distraught Zack—Sam would accept a glass, just to keep the piece. But each time Mr. Pierce offered a refill Sam would decline. Mr. Pierce seemed to judge the worth of a man by how much liquor he could hold. Though it wasn’t easy, Sam always managed to keep his own counsel.
Sam had gotten a job in the local police department, while Zack continued his medical studies, then had done his residency. Zack’s long hours had meant they’d seen little of each other. But all that meant was they had to be more creative in using what time they did have together.
Now -- Sam smiled to himself -- their careers had reached a point where they could afford to relax a little, even take the occasional vacation together.
The past year had seen them visit Massachusetts to attend the same-sex wedding of their friends Pete and Billy. Sam hoped -- one day -- he and Zack would also tie the knot. Part of him had hoped Zack would propose during their visit. But it was okay when he didn’t. Sam knew Zack loved him, because every day in some way or other Zack would tell or show him just how much he was loved.
A quick straightening of the salad forks, and everything was ready. All Sam needed now was the guest of honor, who should ... The phone in the kitchen began to ring.
Sam approached it, glanced at the caller ID and swore. Picking up, he growled, “Zack, tonight’s our anniversary. You better not be calling to say you --”
“Beth’s gone into labor,” Zack interrupted.
“What?” The rest of Sam’s protests died on his lips.