A word challenge story, the first of a series.

The challenge words: little boy, key chain, hallway, car

"Welcome Home"

He parked the car by the jetty, The beach where they'd met was just over the dunes, beyond the sea oats and tall waving grasses. He remembered the first time he'd seen him. Shaggy blonde hair whipped about by the summer breeze, the sun showering freckles across his nose. He'd been such a beautiful little boy, golden like the sun of his native Florida. He'd loved him instantly, a pure love that had grown deeper through the years, waiting patiently for the younger man to mature into adulthood.

He turned off the engine, slipping from behind the wheel of the low-slung import and locking it securely behind him. The picture frame on his key chain caught the sun, and he looked down with a smile. There they were, in their younger days, posing like the brothers they'd been. He walked up the sandy incline, letting the ocean-driven wind whip the foliage around his calves. The ocean pounded the shore, and the sound masked the sob that was torn from his heart. It was beautiful, still so beautiful, and he'd never ever see another beach without thinking of 'him'. His friend, his lover, his partner for life.

The voice behind him came as no surprise, neither did the strong arms that wrapped around him, nor the chin that rested on his shoulder, sending soft warm breath into his ear.

"I thought I'd find you here. Time to go home, Kev. I have the keys to the house. We can start moving in any time."

"I know. I had the movers put the boxes in the hallway last night, Nick. I couldn't wait."

"Look, baby, right down there ... see? That's our place. I always promised myself we'd come back, and we have. Welcome home, Kevin."

word count: 294 words, not counting challenge words & title

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