Castle Roland

Jake and Trevor

by Eric Aune


Chapter 6

Posted: N/A

On the Monday after Thanksgiving Trevor was looking forward to seeing Zach again. He was also a little nervous as well. He wanted to talk to Zach about what he had discussed with Jake and his mom the day before. He locked his bike up and saw Jeremy ride his bike up. He waited until Jeremy was done, and then they walked to class. Trevor looked around to make sure no one was near and then turned to Jeremy.

"Jeremy. Do you have a minute? I want to ask you something."


The boys went over to one of the benches in the lunch area, a little away from anyone else and sat down. Trevor then looked around to make sure that they had a little privacy before he turned to Jeremy, who had kind of a puzzled look.

"Jeremy ... uh ... what did you think of the sleepover this weekend?"

Jeremy started to blush and looked around.

"Uh ... I ... uh ... thought it was fun."

"Yeah, me too. Did it bother you what we all did?"

"No. I thought it was great."

Jeremy then looked around and then leaned in toward Trevor.

"I really liked going to sleep with Jared's arm around me. It made me feel good and I slept real good."

"Yeah, me too. Zach holding me while we slept was real nice. There's...uh something else. I ... uh ... kissed Zach and he kissed me too."

"Yeah, I know, I saw you guys. Jared and I didn't, but ... uh ... I kinda wanted him to. Do you think that he would be mad if I asked to kiss him?"

"I don't know. But I don't think so. He did sleep with his arm around you all night. He might like it, or maybe he will ask you. Maybe instead of asking, just go ahead and do it, if you feel right about it. I didn't ask Zach, I just kissed him."

"I hope he doesn't mind. Did you like it when Zach kissed you?"

"Yeah, I did...a lot. It felt real great."

"Maybe Jared will do it too."

"From what I know of Jared, I think he will like it. I know how much Zach liked it, and he and Jared are real close, so I think he will be cool with it."

"Well, the next time we sleep together, I hope we can try it."

"Oh and uh ... there's another thing. My Mom kind of heard us when we were messing around. She knows kinda what we were doing. I guess we weren't as quiet as we thought."

"What's she going to do!? Is she going to tell my mom!?"

Jeremy started to get a worried look on his face. He had also started to get a little louder. Trevor held his finger up to his mouth in 'shush' motion.

"Jer, chill, dude. It's okay. She doesn't care. It doesn't bother her."

Jeremy started to relax and let out a breath.

"You sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure. I told her about how I feel about Zach."

"How ... d'ya feel about Zach?"

"I like him a lot, a whole lot."

"I like Jared a lot too."

"That's cool. I talked to Jake too."

"You did what!?"

"Chill, Jer. I didn't say anything to him about you. I just talked about Zach and me. Don't worry, even if I had said anything, it wouldn't matter. He was cool with it too. He just said that we should be careful around some people, especially here at school."

"I know. If some of the guys here, especially the older guys, knew that we had done that stuff, they'd probably want to beat us up. Like those guys this weekend pushing Lucas around. It seemed that the only reason they were messing with him is because he wears glasses. That would be nothing compared to what they did to us, if they found out what we did, how we feel about Zach and Jared."

"Yeah, so Jake just told me to be careful."

"'Kay. We better get to class."

The boys left for class, and they saw Zach and Jared enter class right ahead of them. They quickly got in their seats, greeting Zach and Jared as they did so. They smiled at each other and all of them blushed a little bit. Trevor turned around to Zach and lowered his voice.

"Zach, can I talk to you at lunch about something?"

Zach got kind of a nervous smile and nodded his head. Trevor returned the smile and turned back to face the front as the class started.

At lunch Trevor and Zach bought lunch, and then went outside and found a tree away from most of the other kids for a little privacy. They sat down and started eating. They talked about Christmas coming soon, and some homework assignment that was due soon. After they finished eating, Zach looked nervously at Trevor.

"So Trevor, what did you want to talk about?"

"This is kinda hard ... but uh ... I wanted to tell you that I really liked what we did the other night."

Zach got a nervous smile of relief on his face. Trevor answered Zach's smile with one of his own.

"Is there a but in there?"

"A but, no, I wanted to tell you that I liked it."

"Awesome, Trev! I really hoped that you would. I really liked it too ... a lot. In fact I have liked you since I met you at Uncle Jake's. I thought you were real cute and I wanted you to like me."

"Yeah, I do like you, Zach."

"Does this mean that you ... uh ... like boys ... instead of girls? I mean, Jared and I, we've talked about it, and the guys we've grown up with have started talking about cute girls, but we ... uh ... like looking at boys.

"You mean you're ... "

"Jared and I have talked about it a lot, and we're ... uh ... pretty sure we're gay. I think Jared really liked sleeping next to Jeremy like we did too. Do you know if Jeremy might be the same way?"

"I don't know if Jeremy feels that way, Zach, and if he did he'd have to say something about it. If I knew I couldn't say, he would have to talk about that. I will say this: I liked what we did, and when we kissed, that felt real good too. In fact it felt great. I don't know for sure if I'm gay or not, but if what I felt with you means that I'm gay, then maybe I am. Jake said that a lot of boys our age ... experiment ... it doesn't mean we are automatically gay. I don't know about Jeremy ..."

"What! You talked to Jake?"


"I can't believe you did that! Didn't he freak?"

"No, actually he was just Jake. He loves you and Jared very much, and we talked for a while about how I felt, and he said that we might just be going through a phase, and in a year or two we might start liking girls instead of boys. He said boys our age experiment a lot and it's because it feels so good."

Zach was patting his chest and calmed down a bit.

"I thought I was going to have a heart attack when you said that you told Uncle Jake. And I don't think it is a phase for me. Girls don't make me feel the same way boys do. That is, until I met you, you make me feel real good. I think my parents suspect that Jared and I are like this, but we haven't said anything about it to them. Do you think Uncle Jake will tell them?"

"No way, he wouldn't tell them anything unless you said it was okay. If you asked him, he would probably say that you should tell them soon, though."

"I guess. I'll talk to Jared about it and we'll decide when to tell them."

"Jake also said that if we are gay, we should be real careful about showing how much we like each other around people that aren't our family. It could be bad for us. You know what a lot of people say about being gay. We could get our butts kicked on a regular basis."

"Yeah we would. Trev, do you know if Jeremy liked what we did?"

"I think so, but that is up to him to say. He did say that he liked sleeping next to Jared, but other than that, it's between the two of them."

"Well, Jared liked it too. I guess you're right it's between them."

Zach looked around to see if anyone was around.

"Trev ... uh ... I'm glad that you ... you know, liked it, because ... I ... uh ... .I think ... uh ... I mean...I'm uh ... I like you a lot, a whole lot ... you know what I mean. I think about you a lot, especially after the other night. I think I ... uh ... I love you. When you kissed me, that felt so great, I thought that I was flying."

"I've thought about you a lot too, Zach. I don't know if I think I might be falling for you too. The way that I feel with you feels like it could be love. And I don't think it's a phase for me either. I've been thinking a lot about it after talking to Jake and my Mom ... "

"You talked to your Mom, too!?"


"Are you crazy!?"

"No, don't worry, besides, we ... uh ... weren't as quiet as we thought we were the other night."

Zach's mouth dropped open and his eyes got huge, then he started to blush bright red. Trevor looked at him and laughed, falling back against the tree.

"What are you laughin' at?"

"You, dummy. I bet you're red all the way down to your toes."

"Yeah, you would too, if I told you that my mom heard us messing around like that."

"Maybe, but don't worry, my mom is cool with it. She's great. So don't worry."

"Whew, I'm never going to make thirteen at this rate. You keep springing these surprises on me and you're going to have to find another boyfriend ... "

As soon as he said 'boyfriend' ... he clapped his hand over his mouth and got even more red than before.

"Oh shi ... sorry, Trev, I didn't mean that."

"You didn't mean what? You don't want me to be your boyfriend?"

"No, no, that's not what I meant, I mean, I ... damn."

Zach looked down for a bit, when he looked up his eyes were watery.

"Yeah, Trev. I do want you to be my boyfriend. But I don't want to make you mad or anything, being your friend is more important, so I won't say anything like that again. You say you don't know for sure if you're gay, but you might be. I don't want to put any pressure on you, because we like each other. I'd rather just be friends, than make you mad and lose you as a friend. I want you to be sure."

Trevor looked at Zach. Zach was nervously biting his lower lip. Trevor suddenly smiled.

"I accept."

Zach's mouth dropped open, and then it turned into a wide grin. He wiped his eyes quickly, and looked around, before he leaned toward Trevor.

"I wish we were somewhere else, cause I would really like to kiss you right now."

"Me too. But we have to careful."

"Yeah, it sucks, but you're right. But the first chance I get, I am going to kiss you."

"I look forward to it."

The boys finished their lunch and talked some more. They had now shifted around so that they were both leaning back against the tree next to each other, and they continued to talk until the bell rang. They both ran off to their next class smiling. In their last two classes they finally got to see Lucas. He only had a couple of classes with them in the afternoon. One of the classes was PE, the last period of the day. He looked glad to see them. The rest of the week went by pretty much the same. Lucas started to eat lunch with them and became a part of their circle of friends. Lucas was smaller than the others, even though he was the oldest of the five. He was kind of in a klutzy stage, so he was not as coordinated as the others, due to not having played sports outside of school like the other boys did. They started to work with him. Their goal was to get him prepared to join them in playing Little League baseball in the spring.

The next week during lunch Lucas was a little quiet, and he didn't have anything for lunch. The others asked him if he was okay. He just smiled and said that everything was fine and he wasn't really hungry. Trevor looked at him for several long moments. Something didn't seem right. Trevor thought he was holding something back, but he didn't press him. Trevor looked over at Zach, and looked at Lucas. After a few moments, Zach looked over at Lucas and then back at Trevor with a question on his face. Trevor motioned with his head toward Lucas. Zach glanced over, and then nodded. Trevor nodded back. After school, Zach rode his bike home with Lucas on his way to Trevor's house. After he said goodbye to Lucas, he went to Trevor's house since he figured he could get a ride with Jake to the Scout meeting that night, and then go home with his Dad and brother afterwards. When he got to Trevor's house he gave his dad a quick call.

"Hello, Spirit Wolf Security, this is Tom."

"Hi, Dad."

"Hey, Zach!"

"Yeah, Dad, I'm over at Trevor's house. He and I are working on some homework. I'll catch a ride with Uncle Jake to the meeting tonight. Do you mind bringing my scout shirt for me?"

"Sure, Zach. I'll see you tonight. I trust you to behave over there. Okay?"

"Don't worry, Dad. See ya tonight."

"See ya, son."

Later he and Trevor were sitting on the couch, drinking some sodas and talking.

"Did you find anything out, Zach?"

"No. I rode home with him but he didn't have much to say. You're right, though, something seems wrong, I can sense it, but I don't know what it is."

"I've got an idea; why don't we see if Lucas can join Scouts with us."

"That'd be cool. You think he might want to do it."

"Maybe. Besides, it'll be good for him. He'll get to know some of the guys and have a good time."

"You know, we should probably see if Jeremy would be interested too. That would make Jared happy. Especially on campouts." A giggle. "Let's talk to them tomorrow. Now there is something that I owe you from last week."

"You don't owe me anything."

"Oh yes, I do."

"Okay, what do you owe me."


Zach suddenly launched himself at Trevor and drove him onto his back on the couch. Zach was lying on top of Trevor. He looked into Trevor's eyes and then slowly leaned down and kissed him. Trevor lifted his arms up and hugged Zach to him as he returned the kiss. Trevor felt Zach's tongue lightly touching his lips. Trevor opened his mouth and felt Zach's tongue move across his teeth. Trevor opened his mouth wider, and for the first time their tongues touched and danced against each other lightly. Soon they were letting out little moans as the feelings of pleasure coursed through them. Pretty soon another part of their bodies started to respond to the feelings that they were having, and they started grinding their hips against each other. The moaning got louder as they started to move against each other. Then just as they reached their climax, they both heard in each other's mind the words 'I love you, Trev' and 'I love you, Zach'. They both gave out loud moans as they reached the climax, with Zach lying on top of Trevor. Trevor was still clutching Zach to him gently. Zach had his head on Trevor's shoulder and Trevor was combing the fingers of his hand through Zach's sweaty hair, smoothing it off of his forehead. After a little while Zach lifted his head and looked into Trevor's eyes and smiled. He then leaned in and kissed Trevor lightly on the lips. Trevor kissed him back and smiled.

Somewhere far away, an older man who was working on a fence looked up and smiled, before he returned to repairing the fence.

"That ... was awesome, Zach."

"I know. That was the most incredible thing that I have ever felt."

"Me too. And at the end, what was that?"

"I don't know, it felt like you were in my head. I could feel your love and feelings for me and I thought I could hear you say you loved me ... but you didn't say it exactly ... except inside my head. At least that was it felt like."

"Yeah, me too. I felt the same thing. How did that happen?"

Zach was quiet for a bit, laying his head back down on Trevor's chest. He then took a deep breath and looked into Trevor's eyes. Trevor looked concerned, like he had done something wrong.

"Zach, what's wrong? What'd I say or do?"

Zach took a deep breath, let it out and smiled, bringing a nervous smile back to Trevor's face.

"This may sound crazy, but me and Jared have always been able to uh ... kinda ... talk to each other like that. We've always been able to do it, ever since we were little. At first we thought everyone talked that way, but we eventually found out that almost nobody did. We decided to keep it between us. You are the first person either of us have told, and I think Jared is going to be a little pissed that I told you, but don't worry about it. I'll tell him tonight so that he knows, but please don't tell anyone. Not your mom, Uncle Jake, no one, please."

Trevor pulled Zach's head down and gave him a gentle kiss.

"You don't even have to ask. I would never betray your trust. I will hold that secret as long as you want. Also, I think that I have accidentally sent my thoughts to Jake. There were a couple of times a little while after I met him, that I was thinking 'I love you' in my head, after he did something nice, and he answered out loud, like he heard me, but I'm sure I didn't say anything out loud, still I am certain that he heard me somehow. When I was little I sometimes knew what other people were feeling."

"Wow. That's so cool. Maybe because we love each other, we can hear each other, like I do with Jared."

"Well, we'll have to practice that. It could be handy. Hey, do you think we can use this to maybe figure out what is going on with Lucas?"

"I don't know, maybe. I'll give it a try tomorrow and I'll ask Jared to help."

"Okay, cool. Now even though I know that I would like to stay like this for a while longer, we need to get some homework done before the meeting tonight."

"Yeah, I know."

Zach reluctantly got up and they went to the kitchen table to get to work on their homework until Trevor's mom got home. When she arrived, the boys were sitting at the table working on homework. She fixed dinner for them, and they finished up their homework before dinner was ready. Jake took them to the troop meeting that evening. After the meeting, they surreptitiously took each other's hand for a moment when they said goodbye at the car, while Tom was distracted by a question from Jake. They waved goodbye to each other as they drove off.

During lunch the next day, Zach and Jared were sitting across from Lucas. He seemed his normal self today. Lucas was turned to Trevor, who was talking to him about trying out for baseball. The twins were both concentrating, but after a short while, they kind of mentally shrugged and gave up. Zach got Trevor's attention and slowly shook his head. Trevor gave a quick frown, but continued with the conversation. Later, on the way to PE class, they got a chance to talk.

"You couldn't get anything, Zach?"

"Nothing. There was something real faint there, but nothing I could feel or figure out."

"Well, we tried. Let's get to class."

They got to PE and changed into their PE clothes. Today the class was playing some touch football. During one of the plays, Lucas was a receiver and he started running downfield. One of the bigger (for a twelve year old) players from the other team was coming at him. Lucas cut across the field and looked back for the pass. He saw the bigger kid coming at him and got a scared look on his face. At that instant, Zach, who was trying to get into position to block for Lucas, suddenly stumbled and almost tripped, but he recovered and continued running. The ball came near Lucas, who just missed it, and the play was over. Zach had a strange look on his face as he made his way back to the line. He went up to Trevor while Lucas retrieved the ball.

"I think I got something. I'll call you later."

"Got it."

They got back into formation and continued to play until the end of the period. Trevor, Lucas and Jeremy said goodbye to Zach and Jared and headed home. That evening, Zach called Trevor.

"Hi, Tigger. Okay, I said that I think I've got something; it was when that bigger kid was chasing Lucas. He got real scared, but it wasn't about the kid chasing him, it was something else, like he was scared of someone or several someones. It was like his guard dropped for a few seconds, and I felt that there is something or maybe someone that is scaring him, just not who."

"We've got to figure something out. Should we just ask him about it?"

"I don't know. Maybe. But we'd have to do it some place where no one else is around, and where he feels comfortable and safe."

"How about this weekend? I'll ask Jake if we can invite Lucas over to go swimming, and you guys could ride your bikes over and we find a way to ask him?"

"That might work. We probably don't want to just ask him as soon as he gets here. Let's get him relaxed and in a good mood. Then with all of us there, we let him know that we are behind him and try to find out what's going on?"

"Yeah, I like it. I'll ask Jake. You talk to Jared and ask him to call Jeremy."

"Okay I'll talk to him about it, and I'm sure he'll have no problem calling Jeremy. I'll let you know tomorrow at school."

"Okay, bye bud, can't wait to see you tomorrow. Luv ya."

"Yeah, ditto to what you said."

They hung up and Trevor went out to the living room, where his mom was sitting watching the news. She had her briefcase opened and was looking at a folder.

"Mom, is it all right if I go over to Jake's? I've got to ask him something."

"Sure, don't be too late, school tomorrow, you know."

"I won't be gone long, thanks, Mom."

He went out the door and across the street to Jake's. He knocked on the door, and then opened it. Jake was just getting out of his chair to answer the door when he saw Trevor come in.

"Hey, Trev, it's nice of you to come over. To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?"

Trevor went to Jake, who gave him a hug. Trevor looked up at Jake.

"Hi, Dad. I came over to ask you something. Could the twins, Jeremy and I go swimming this weekend? We want to invite Lucas too."

"Sure, I have no plans. If the weather is good, I'll heat the pool up a bit and make sure there are some sodas to drink, maybe some chips and salsa."

"Thanks. We kinda have a reason we want to do this. Lucas has gotten to be a good friend of ours, and the last couple days he hasn't been himself. He's kinda quiet, kinda tense, something just doesn't seem right, so we wanted to get him over here and have a good time and see if we can find out what's going on."

"I think that's a great idea. I am so proud of you. You really are a great kid. If there's anything I can do to help, let me know."

"I think we'll be okay. But I'll let you know. Thanks, Dad."

Jake walked him to the door and Trevor gave him a hug goodbye.

The next day at school, they talked to Lucas about swimming at Jake's on the weekend. He liked the idea and said that he would give Trevor a call that night after he asked his parents. He called Trevor later that night to tell him that he could come over. So the final plans were made for Saturday.

Saturday arrived and it was a pretty nice day. Trevor and Jeremy were at Jake's a little before noon. The twins showed up a little after noon. They all got into the pool. The afternoon was warm and the pool was heated to about 80 degrees. Lucas arrived about one o'clock with a backpack over his shoulder. Jake greeted him at the door.

"Lucas, nice of you to come over. They told me you would be coming by for a little pool party, maybe one of the few until spring. I don't heat it up much during the winter. The boys are all in the pool so come along."

"Thanks, Mr. ... Jake, for letting me come over."

"You're welcome."

Jake escorted Lucas to the backyard. The four other boys were wrestling in the pool when Lucas came outside with Jake. They saw Lucas and waved.

"Hey, Luke, come on in, the water feels great."

Lucas smiled at Trevor. He put his backpack down on a chair and took his shirt and jeans off; underneath he had his swimsuit on. He took a short run and jumped in, splashing everyone with a cannonball. The boys' play continued. They did some chicken fighting, a few races, eventually they wound down. They got out and dried off; luckily the day was warm enough that they didn't get too cooled down, although they did have to wrap the towels around themselves. They went over to the outside bar for some drinks, and then sat at the table for some chips and salsa that Jake had put out for them. They talked about school for a bit, and then Zach and Trevor looked at each other and nodded. Trevor got a serious look on his face.

"Luke. You know that we are your friends."

"Yeah. You guys are great. I'm glad I met you."

"Good, well, we want to talk to you about something. We have all noticed that something is different about you the last few days. Is there something going on that we can maybe help you with?"

The smile Lucas had on his face disappeared and he started to get nervous.

"Th ... there's nothing going on. Why would you think that? I'm the same way I was last week. I don't know what you're talking about."

"C'mon, Luke, we know something is going on. You have been a little quieter lately and tense too; we've all noticed it and you don't always get something for lunch. When you have good friends, they kinda get to know when something isn't the same. And the other day in PE for a few seconds, Zach saw real fear in your eyes when that one bigger kid charged you when you had the ball."

Lucas put his head down. Zach, who was sitting next to him, put his hand on Lucas' shoulder. Lucas looked up and there were tears in his eyes. He looked at them.

"There's nothing you can do."

"What do you mean, there's nothing we can do, Luke? I'm sure there is something we can help with. We're your friends, and friends help each other. Is there something going on at school, or home or what? Tell us and we'll do what we can to help."

"You can't help me and I can't tell you. If I do, you might get hurt. And I don't want you to get hurt. You're my friends."

"Why would we get hurt? Is someone hurting you?"

Lucas put his head down again and shrugged.

"Luke, if someone is hurting you or bothering you or whatever, we got your back. Just tell us so that we can figure out what to do. Now tell us, is it at school or home or in the neighborhood?"

"I told you I can't tell you."

Trevor got up and went over to Lucas and putting his arms around him. Lucas suddenly turned and put his arms around Trevor and started to cry softly. Trevor pulled him up and hugged him. The other three surrounded them and hugged Lucas while he cried. They broke the hug and Trevor led them over to some of the lounges by the pool. Trevor and Zach sat on one with Lucas in the middle of them; they had their arms around his shoulders. Jared and Jeremy sat across from them. Lucas was the first to speak.

"Thanks, guys, you are the best friends a guy could have."

"Well, best friends help each other, otherwise what kind of best friends would they be? We got your back."

He took a deep breath before continuing.

"I am ... uh ... having some trouble at school. You remember those guys from before. You know, from when we first met. Well, they go to our school. They're in ninth grade, I think. They saw me on Monday and followed me into the bathroom. There was no one else in there and they pushed me up against the wall. They said that they were going to get me back for the other day. Luckily someone came in. They quickly let go of me and pretended that they were washing their hands. Another boy came in and so they just dried their hands and David, he's the one doing most of the talking, leaned close to me before they left and said to watch my back. He also said that if I told anybody, they were going to hurt me, and then they were going to hurt whoever I told. The rest of the week, I've been bumped in the halls. I look around and one of them is always looking at me with a mean grin. I don't know what to do."

"Okay, Luke, we'll help you figure out what to do. Have you told your parents or the principal?"

"No. Those guys said that they would beat me up and then hurt whoever I told. I don't want them to hurt my parents. Besides I don't have any proof. If I told on them and nothing happened, then they would definitely beat me up."

"Okay. We need a plan of some kind. We got your back, Luke, never forget that. Any ideas, guys?"

"Trev, we can't tell anyone without proof. Maybe we could try to keep an eye out and catch them in the act of giving Luke a hard time. That way there would be two witnesses, Luke and whichever of us see David and his friends messing with him. Then they would believe us and maybe we can get them kicked out of school for threatening Luke."

"Good idea, Zach. We should have at least one of us near Lucas as much as possible. It will be harder before lunch because none of us have him in any of our classes; after lunch is no problem. Plus we'll keep an eye out for these guys and watch them. Luke might not be the only kid they're messing with. Maybe we can talk some of them into complaining about them too. If enough people complain, maybe that will be proof enough to get them kicked out of school."

"I don't know. They're bigger than us and we might get hurt."

"Don't worry, Luke, we'll watch each other's back. They're just a bunch of stupid assholes. They probably share one brain cell between them. Any one of us is smarter than them."

"Okay. If you think it will work, but I'm still worried."

"Like we said, we've got your back."

The boys sat and talked a bit more, and then it was time for everyone to go back home. Trevor and Zach shared a quick hug goodbye while the others went and got on their bikes. Trevor said goodbye at Jake's door as the four others rode away. Jeremy and the twins rode with Lucas to his house, then to Jeremy's, and then the twins were going to ride home from there. When Trevor closed the door and turned around, he saw Jake standing there with his arms folded.

"Well, everything all right?"

"No. It's those guys from the other day. The older guys that were pushing Lucas around the other day when we met him. Lucas says that they are in ninth grade at our school and they have been threatening him at school."

"Has he told anybody? His parents, a teacher, the principal, anyone?"

"No. They said that they would beat him up if he told anyone, and then would hurt whoever he told, including his parents. He doesn't want anyone hurt because of him, so he's afraid. We need enough proof somehow, they that are doing this."

"Then what is he going to do?"

"We're all going to keep an eye on him and watch his back as much as we can. Maybe we can catch them doing something to him or another kid, and then maybe we can get the other kids to help us get these guys expelled."

"I still think you should tell someone at the school."

"Lucas won't. But if we get enough people complaining, then maybe that will end it and get these guys kicked out."

"I still don't like it. You guys be careful. If you need my help, convincing the school principal or whatever, let me know."

"I'm not that worried. They're probably all talk, unless they can get some kid alone, so if we watch out for each other, we'll be okay."

"I repeat, you guys be careful."

"Okay. We will. I love you, Dad."

"I love you too, Son."

Jake and Trevor hugged and Jake gave him a kiss on the top of his head. They went in the backyard to finish cleaning up. Trevor went home once they were done. On Monday the boys put the plan into action.

Trevor and Jeremy met up with Luke at his house and the three of them rode to school together. When they got there, Zach and Jared were waiting.

"Okay, everybody knows what to do?"

They all nodded at Zach.

"All right, let's go to where most of the ninth graders have homeroom classes."

The five boys walked to the part of the school where most of the homeroom classes for ninth graders were located. When they got there, they started walking around the area looking for the guys who had been bullying Luke. They got to a place where they could see without being seen too easily. After about fifteen minutes, they saw three of the guys walk up to another group of boys. They watched them as some the others showed up and joined the group. After a few minutes, the five who had harassed Luke walked away from the group. Trevor and his friends watched as they walked to a classroom. Once they were out of sight, Trevor turned to the others.

"We all know what they all look like now. The idea is to watch Luke's back. One of us will try to always be around or nearby. If we see something happen, depending on what it is, we will try to prevent it, or be there to help Luke. Luke, since no matter how hard we try, there may be times when you are alone. Watch your back and stay near other people. Don't let yourself get caught alone. You know that if they are determined enough, they will do something. We are going to try to be as visible to them as possible. Everyone, if you see one of them moving close to Luke, let 'em know that you are there and are watching what they are doing. Maybe they'll get tired after a while and give it up. But, and remember, Luke, we're not going to stop this after a couple of weeks. No, we are in this in the long haul. No one messes with a friend."

"Thanks, guys, really. But you've got to promise me that you won't do anything that will get you hurt."

"Don't worry, Luke. We'll be keeping an eye on each other as well."

"Trevor, the one thing we haven't thought about yet, is that if we are always watching them, and they know that we are watching them. Then they might start to come after us as well. So we have to be careful."

"You're right, Zach. Everyone has everyone else's back, right? Friends take care of each other. Okay. We better get to class soon. Luke, we'll try to have one or all of us nearby."

The four boys walked Luke to his first class. Once there, they quickly got to their class. For the rest of the day, they shadowed Luke, keeping an eye out for the bullies. Nothing happened that day. For the rest of the week they followed the same pattern. They also asked around to get the names of the boys in this little gang. They were Dave Rankin, Mike Grant, Adam Messner, Bill Shoemaker, and Jerry Stevens. Dave seemed to be the leader that the others followed. By Thursday nothing had happened and Luke seemed to be in a better mood. At lunch, they talked about it, with Trevor starting off.

"Luke, have they let you alone this long a time?"

"No. They haven't bothered me at all, and before it always seemed that one of them bumped me or something at least once a day."

"Maybe they noticed that we are watching them and so they're just waiting until they get you alone. If it has been this long, they may be planning something. So is it agreed that we keep this up?"

Trevor got a nod from everyone, and he nodded in acknowledgement. They finished lunch and headed back to class. After the last class of the day, Luke was at his locker putting books away. He had his hand in the locker door, when he felt someone's weight push hard against his back. It pushed him against the locker, which caused the door to slam shut on his wrist. When the door closed, he let out a sudden cry of pain as he dropped his backpack on the ground and fell to the ground cradling his wrist. There was yelling behind him and the weight was moved away. Then he felt hands on his shoulders that helped him regain his feet.

"Hey, jerk off. Get away. You've hurt him."

"Hey, it was an accident. I tripped, I didn't mean to."

"Yeah, sure, get away from him. Luke, are you okay?"

Luke looked around at the familiar voice.

"I don't know, Zach, it really hurts."

"Let me see it."

Luke pulled his arm out of the locker. There was a slight cut that was bleeding slightly and a bruise already had started to form on his wrist. Zach looked at it and got angry. He looked away toward the direction where Adam Messner, the boy who 'tripped', had walked away. When Zach found where he went, he saw him standing with Dave and Mike. They were looking at the two boys with grins on their faces. David gave a mock wave and they walked away. Zach clenched his teeth and muttered under his breath. He turned back to Luke.

"Does it hurt a lot?"

"Yeah, it does."

"Okay, let's get you to the office. You probably need to get that checked out. Anything else you need from the locker?"

"Yeah, my math book."

Zach got the book and put it into Luke's backpack and then he picked it up. He shut and locked Luke's locker and ushered him towards the office. As they turned the corner, they saw their friends coming toward them. When the others saw Luke holding his wrist with Zach carrying Luke's backpack, they hurried toward them.

"What happened?"

"I had to go to my locker so I was late meeting Luke. I saw Adam Messner, one of those assholes, falling against Luke, causing him to fall forward and shutting the locker door on his wrist. Adam said that he tripped, but I think it was on purpose. I saw him walk over to Dave and Mike. They were kind of laughing it off."

"Damn. Sorry, Luke. They were probably just waiting for a chance."

"Let's get him to the office. I think he needs someone to look at his wrist."

"Yeah, let's go."

The five boys walked to the office, escorting Luke. As they entered the office, the secretary looked up with a smile.

"Hi, boys, what can I do for you?"

"Hi, Ms. Whitaker, our friend Luke here got his wrist slammed inside a locker door. It's already got a bruise and is kind of swollen now. There is also a little cut on it."

"Oh dear. Sit down and I'll get the principal."

The boys sat down while Ms. Whitaker went to the principal's office. She came back out followed by Mr. Boyce. He came over to the boys and got down on his knee to take a closer look. He gently took Luke's hand and turned it to look on all sides, when he did that Luke hissed in pain, and sucked in a breath. Mr. Boyce gently let go of his hand and arm.

"Sorry, Luke, I tried to be gentle. I guess it hurts a bit."

"Yes sir, some."

"Well, how did this happen?"

"I was putting some stuff away in my locker when I felt someone fall against me. I was pushed against my locker and my hand was inside, the door closed on my wrist. The other guy said he tripped."

"Mr. Boyce, I was walking up the hall to meet up with Luke and I saw the other boy fall against him. It didn't look like an accident, sir. He looked like he did it on purpose."

"Okay, Zach, who was he?"

"It was Adam Messner, a 9th grader."

"Are you sure it was on purpose?"

"Yes sir. After he did it, he met up with a couple of other friends of his, David Rankin and Mike Grant. All of them smirked when they looked at us, and David gave a kind of mock wave as they walked away."

"Was there anyone else who saw this?"

"No, sir."

"Well, that will make it difficult. If this is true, then I would guess that his friends will say that it was an accident. So it will be your word against theirs. I can have a talk with them, but it might not do anything."

"Mr. Boyce, those guys and a couple of their other friends were harassing Luke a few weeks back and we stopped them. We've been trying to watch Luke's back for a while now. We thought they might do something, but nothing has happened until today."

"I'm sorry about this, boys, but we need better proof."

"Yes, sir."

"Okay, Lucas, we're going to get a hold of one of your parents. Ms. Whitaker, call and let Lucas' parents know what happened."

"Yes, Mr. Boyce."

She looked at a file on the computer on her desk, and after searching a bit she found what she was looking for, and dialed a number on her phone. She got Mrs. Heath on the phone and talked for a minute or so. She hung up and looked over to the boys.

"Lucas, your mom will be here in a little while."

"Okay, thanks."

The boys all sat with Lucas and comforted him as they waited. One of them always had his arm across Lucas' shoulders. After about twenty minutes, Mrs. Heath came into the office and rushed to Lucas when she spotted him. She kneeled down in front of her son and carefully took his hand, looking at the wrist.

"Oh, honey, are you okay?"

"Yeah, mom, but it does hurt a lot."

"What happened?"

"Someone fell against me when my hand was in my locker. The door closed on my wrist."

"Well, let's get you to the doctor's so that they can look at that."

"Mrs ... "

Lucas was furiously shaking his head at Zach, when she turned her head to look at Zach. Zach sighed and nodded slightly.

"Yes, Zach."

"Um ... we hope he's going to be okay. He's our friend. Call one of us later, Luke, so we can see how you're doing?"

"Sure. I will. See ya guys."

They followed Luke and his mom out of the school. Jeremy was carrying Luke's backpack. When they got to the car, Jeremy handed the backpack to Mrs. Heath. She thanked him and waved to the boys. Luke waved as he and his mom pulled away. They headed out to the bike racks.

"We've got to watch those jerks better."

"Yeah, do you think we should see about switching some of our classes, so that we can help him?"

"I don't think they will let us. Maybe now that they have hurt him for payback, that will be it and they will leave him alone."

"Maybe, but from the look that David had on his face, I don't think so. We're just going to have to more careful."

"Yep, see you guys."

Zach and Jared looked around and seeing no one nearby, they leaned close to Trevor and Jeremy and took their hands.

"I wish we could give you guys kiss and hug goodbye, but I guess we'll have to save it."

"I can't wait to collect."

"Me neither"

"Anyway, see you guys later."

"Yeah, see ya."

The four boys split up, going their separate ways. Unaware that other eyes had watched them. Eyes that were far from friendly. Later that evening Trevor's mom called him to the phone; it was Luke.

"Hey, Luke. How is your arm?"

"It's broken."

"Those bastards. How bad is it?"

"Just a small fracture, more like a crack in the bone. The doctor said it wasn't out of place or anything and should heal up quickly in a few weeks. I have a cast on it."

"Maybe those jerks will leave you alone now."

"I hope so."

"Yeah, me too. But we still gotta watch our backs. They're just plain mean."

"Well, don't worry, Trevor, we'll be careful."

"Yeah, we will. Anyway, take care, see ya tomorrow."

"Yeah, thanks, Trevor, see you tomorrow."

Trevor hung up the phone. He told his mom that he was going over to Jake's. She told him not to be too late. He nodded as he left. He quickly made his way across the street to Jake's door. He knocked and entered. Jake looked up from a chair in the living room. He smiled and gave a little wave of greeting to Trevor. Trevor walked over and dropped down on the couch.

"Good evening, Trevor. How's it going?"

"All right with me, but Luke just called and told me he has a broken arm."

"What! What happened?"

Trevor went into the whole story telling Jake about the 'accident' and what happened. He also told him about the look on Dave's face that Zach had seen, as he walked away with his friends. Jake sat back and thought about it for a bit, then looked over at Trevor.

"Trevor, I think you might be right about them. I don't think they're done yet. You guys have to be careful. These guys spell trouble. I don't want to scare you, just warn you. It could be that they're done. Let's hope so anyway. But in the meantime keep your eyes open. They might want to hurt Lucas some more. You said that Lucas stopped Zach from telling his mom about what we think. Why is that?"

"I think that he doesn't want his mom to know, because she would probably complain about them. They might get in trouble, but like Mr. Boyce said without proof, there's not much we can do. I think he wants to make sure that they will get in trouble; right now there is no guarantee of that."

"Okay, I don't like it, and I think his mom and maybe all of the parents should get involved."

"But Jake ..."

Jake held up his hands. "I know, I know, calm down. I won't say anything ... yet. But you watch your butt. I care too much about you to have something happen to you. Or your friends, which happens to include those 'nephews' of mine. So take care."

Trevor got up from the couch and walked over to Jake. He leaned forward to hug him and Jake brought him into his lap.

"We'll be careful ... Dad, I swear."

"Okay. It's getting late; you should get back home."

Trevor pulled out of the embrace and looked at Jake smiling.

"I love you."

"I love you too, Trev. Now git."

Trevor got up and smiled as he left Jake's and hurried across the street. He said good night to his mom and went to his room. He stripped down to his briefs and got into bed. He read for a little while, and then turned off the light and went to sleep.

The next day at school, the five friends were together at lunch. They were sitting outside signing Luke's cast. They were not paying attention as a shadow crossed over them. They were startled by a voice.

"Morning, girls."

The five boys looked up to see Dave and his buddies standing there.

"What do you want?"

"We just wanted to see if four eyes was okay. We heard he got hurt and we wanted to tell him to get well."

"He's fine, no thanks to you."

"What do you mean? It was an accident, Adam here tripped over his own feet. He's clumsy that way."

"Yeah, sorry, four eyes, hope you heal up soon. We wouldn't want anything bad to happen."

"Okay, you had your revenge, now leave us alone."

"Us ... why would we want revenge?" Dave leaned close. "I wouldn't be saying such things out loud. Uh uh, bad idea ... besides I want to sign my little buddy's cast."

Dave took a strong grip on Lucas' cast and held it against the table as he sat down. The other four boys started to protest and get up; each of them felt a strong grip on their shoulders which held them down in their seats. Mike handed a marker to Dave. Dave kept a strong grip on the cast as he started writing on it. Lucas was frightened, his eyes behind his glasses started to fill with tears. Trevor, Jeremy and the twins were smoldering in their anger at the older and stronger boys. After a minute Dave finished up and handed the marker back to Mike. He stood up.

"There we go, not bad if I do say so myself. Okay boys, I would look at the cast and heed what it says. We wouldn't want anything to happen, now, would we."

Lucas turned his cast and saw a drawing of three monkey's heads in the classic "see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil' pose.

"I would take that to heart, girls. It's good advice for ... "

"Is everything okay here, boys?"

They all turned around and the older boys quickly released their grips on the boys as they looked at Mr. Johnson, one of the school security guys who had walked toward them. Dave looked down at the boys and gave his head a slight shake, then turned back to Mr. Johnson.

"Everything's fine, Mr. Johnson. We were just seeing how our friend is, since he got hurt, that's all."

"Of course you were, Mr. Rankin. So kind of you to show concern. Why don't you move along now; it's almost time for class."

"Sure, we were just saying goodbye and leaving."

Dave looked back at the group and gave them a warning smile as he and his friends walked away chuckling. Mr. Johnson came up to the boys.

"Is everything all right with you guys?"

Trevor and Zach looked at Dave and his friends as they walked away. Mike looked back at them and wagged his finger at them and shaking his head in warning.

"Sure, Mr. Johnson, we're fine."

"Yes, sir, Dave just wanted to sign my cast. We're okay.

"Okay, if you're sure. Mr. Boyce asked us to keep an eye on those guys. He told us that you've had trouble with Rankin and his bunch."

"Thanks, Mr. Johnson."

"No problem, boys. Just watch out for them. They've been trouble since they first came here."

"Okay, thanks again."

Mr. Johnson waved as he walked away. The bell rang and they headed back to their classes.

The next couple of weeks went by with no problems from Dave and his buddies. The boys got occasional glares or mean looks from him or one of his buddies, but they didn't approach them and left them alone. Nothing happened and the boys started to relax. They never said anything about what Dave had said to them, and Dave and his cronies left them alone. On the Friday after two weeks of peace, the boys got together at lunch and talked about it again.

"Well, guys, what do you think?"

"I don't know, Trev, maybe keeping quiet was a good thing. They haven't done anything really. Has anyone had a problem with them? Jeremy, Jared, Luke?"

Zach got "no's" from the others.

"So maybe it's over. We need to still watch each others' back, but maybe since we didn't say anything to get them in trouble, they're done bugging us and they'll leave us alone."

"I hope so, Zach. I'm getting my cast off next week and I don't want to wear another one for a long time. I will have to wear a splint for another couple of weeks, but at least I don't have to wear a cast. It really itches under there."

The boys laughed at Lucas. Lucas gave them a mock pout.

"Hey, it's not funny, sometimes it really drives me nuts. I have to try to find something thin I can stick inside the cast to scratch the itch."

The boys laughed harder. Lucas joined in after a bit.

"Well I hope you get a cast, so you can see what I've had to go through."

"Sorry for laughing, bud, but I believe you. No, thanks, no casts for me. But next week huh, that's great. It's about time for Christmas, maybe after Christmas we can start helping you get ready to play Little League; signups start in January."

"Cool, Zach, I can't wait."

They got up from the bench as the bell rang to signal the end of lunch.

The next week before school let out went great. The boys breathed a sigh of relief; school was now out for the next couple of weeks and no more problems from Dave Rankin and company. Saturday morning the boys got up and found that their plans for playing some over the line was ruined because of rain, which was supposed to last throughout the rest of the weekend. They commiserated over the phone that morning and planned to get together on Monday if it did not rain. After talking to Zach, Trevor hung up the phone. He went into the kitchen and saw his mom sitting there looking over a file from work.

"Hi, mom, whatcha doin?"

"Just looking over something from work. What about you?"

"Nuthin, the guys and I were going to play some baseball at the park, but the rain kinda hosed that idea."

"Well, if you're too bored, I think I can find something for you to do."

"Naw, don't put yourself out, Mom. I'm sure I can find something to keep me occupied."

"Okaaay, but if you need something to do, just ask."

"Sure, you'll be the first to know."

She smiled at him as he left the room. As Trevor went through the living room to his bedroom, he looked out the front window and saw Jake's jeep pull in. He yelled to his mom in the kitchen.

"Mom, I'm going over to Jake's for a little while."

"Fine, have fun."

Trevor hurried to the front door, opened it and, scowling up at the sky, he looked back over to Jake's, and saw him open his front door. Trevor looked up and down the street and sprinted across the street to Jake's door. Jake was just in the process of closing it when he saw Trevor run across the street. He waited with the door open, and smiled at Trevor as he ran up. Trevor went right to him and gave him a hug, which Jake gladly returned, giving Trevor a gentle kiss on his wet hair, then grimaced.

"Ughh, you smell like Dee."

"What d'ya mean?"

"You know, wet dog."

Jake started to laugh as he tickled Trevor, who was squirming around trying to escape and then collapsed to the floor giggling. Jake followed him down to the floor as he continued to tickle him.

"Nooo, stop, you're going to make me pee my pants. Stop, please."

Jake was laughing as much as Trevor was and got up. He put a hand down to help him up. Trevor got up and followed Jake into the kitchen.

"Would you like some hot tea or chocolate, I've got both."


"Okay, one Hot Chocolate coming up. So what brings you over this morning?"

"Well, the guys and I were going to go play some ball at the park, but I guess that's out now with the rain and all, so I had nothing better to do and came over."

"Oh, so I'm a last resort kinda thing, for when you have nothing better to do?"

"Yeah, sucks to be you."

"Well, I'll take what I can get. Any time with you is a good time."

Jake walked over and tousled his wet hair. He looked at his hand and gave a mock frown. He walked over to a kitchen towel, and before Trevor could duck, he was hit in the face with the towel. Jake laughed.

"Dry your hair, you're a little wet behind the ears."

"Wet behind the ears, ha ha, very funny."

Trevor smiled as he dried his head. Jake smiled at him as he went to the back door to let Dee in, who ran over to Trevor and started begging for attention. Trevor dropped the towel on the counter and gave Dee some attention. When the tea and chocolate were ready, they went to the breakfast table and sat down.

"So, bud, what's your plans for the vacation?"

"Not much, me and the guys were going to play some ball. This will be the last year we get to play Little League; maybe we can all get on the same team."

"Good plan. Sorry I won't be around during the whole break. I'd be happy to work with you guys. Me and some buddies of mine are going up skiing for a few days after Christmas. We've rented a cabin up in Big Bear, near Snow Summit right near the slopes, and plan to do a lot of skiing. It's supposed to be a good year up there, lots of snow. I can't wait."

"That's sounds great, Jake. I always wanted to go skiing. Could we maybe go sometime? Zach was saying that you guys usually go up there a couple of times during the season; maybe the next time, I could go and maybe my Mom too."

"Sure, that's a good idea, I hadn't thought of that. So you always wanted to go skiing, huh?"

"Yeah, I like watching the skiers when the Winter Olympics are on. They make it look so graceful and easy."

"Well, the first time you go, you should take lessons. They really help you get comfortable on your skis."

"Okay, so when are you going next, I mean, after this trip next week?"

"I'll let you know, bud. You will definitely get to go, that is, as long as your Mom says it's okay."

"She will. She knows I want to learn to ski. Are you a good skier?"

"Not too bad, I usually take a few runs on the expert slopes when I go."

"That's cool."

They continued sipping their drinks. Trevor asked about skiing and Jake told him about some of his ski trips to Utah and Colorado.

The weather cleared up by Monday and the boys got a chance to play some ball during the week. Lucas went with them when he could. He still was wearing the splint so he couldn't do much, but he was able to throw some. They had a pretty good time most of the week. They got rained out from time to time, so on those days they usually ended up either at Trevor's or the twins' house to watch TV or play video games. On Friday evening Trevor went over to visit with Jake. Jake walked out of the kitchen with a cup of tea in his hand as Trevor opened the door. They smiled when they saw each other. Trevor went up to him and gave him a hug, Jake returned it one-handed, since the other had a cup in it.

"Hey, buddy, how's it going?"

"Real good, Jake. What have you been doing?"

"A lot of work. We usually shut down the company from Christmas to New Years, so we always have extra work to get done before the holiday. How about you?"

"We've been playing some baseball to get ready for Little League tryouts next month. Luke has worked with us and we hope that he will get his splint off soon so we can really start helping him prepare. We hope that we can all be on the same team."

"Well, good luck at that. You want some tea or something else to drink?"

"Hot Chocolate?"

"One chocolate coming right up."

Trevor followed Jake back into the kitchen and sat down at the small table there watching as Jake got the chocolate ready.

"Jake, did mom ask you over for dinner tomorrow for Christmas Eve?"

"Yeah, she did, but I'm sorry I can't be there. I'm going to be busy that evening."


"Hey, don't worry. You guys are coming over on Christmas afternoon. So are Tom and his family."

"Oh cool. That's great. Are you looking forward to the ski trip?"

"Yeah, my friend and I have been planning this for a few months now. We were just waiting to put it in action when we knew what the snow was going to be like, and since it looked promising, we jumped on it."

"I hope we can go sometime this winter."

"We'll see what we can do about that."

Trevor told Jake about what he had been doing this past week. When he finished his drink, he rinsed out the cup and Jake followed him to the door. Trevor gave Jake a hug goodbye. They waved goodbye. Jake smiled as he watched the boy cross the street, turn at his door and wave at Jake.

Late on the afternoon of Christmas Eve Jake left the house and headed toward LAX. He parked his Jeep and went inside. He checked the arrival times, smiled and headed over towards baggage claim. He watched as the people from different flights entered the area and went to the baggage carousels. He smiled at the kids jumping around with excitement, families waited for their luggage to drop down onto the carousel. After about twenty minutes, he got up and moved nearer to one of the carousels as people started to gather near it. He looked over the people and saw a man and a woman with their backs turned toward him. He smiled as he approached them. The man was nearly as tall as Jake with black hair that reached to his upper back, well built and strong looking. The woman was only slightly shorter, with long gray and blond hair nearly to her waist. They were both wearing jeans and western shirts. The man wore a choker around his neck, and a Stetson on his head. Jake snuck up behind them and grabbed them in a big hug. The woman was a little startled, but the man just slowly looked over his shoulder at Jake and smiled.

"Hi Dad, Mom. Glad to see you could make it."

"Damn you, Jake. Are you trying to give me more gray hairs? I about jumped out of my skin."

"Sorry, mom."

"Son, it is good to see you. It has been too long."

"You too, Dad. It is really great to see you both. Thanks for accepting my invitation."

"Well, my boy, I want to see this lady and her son that has you captivated."

"You will tomorrow at the house. They'll be there tomorrow afternoon. Tom and his family are coming over too."

"Good, it will be nice to see Tom and Terry again and their two little hellions."

"Well, let's get your stuff and get out of here."

They waited until finally the bags started to come down the conveyer. Jake's father Sean grabbed one bag, while Jake grabbed the other. They left the terminal and walked to the parking lot. Sean seemed to be studying Jake and he smiled after a time. Jake noticed and looked at his dad.


"You look happy, son."

"I am. I am really happy right now."

"That's good. She must be quite a person. I haven't seen you this happy for a long time"

"It's not just Sandy; it's her son Trevor too. I really love them both. Being with them makes me feel good."

"Good people can do that. I am very happy for you."

"Thanks, Dad. I can't wait for you guys to meet them. I thought we'd stop on the way for a good meal, and then when we get home, we can sit down and catch up."

Sean nodded and Shayna put her arm around Jake's waist and gave him a hug as Jake raised his free arm to her shoulders. They walked like that to the Jeep. Jake loaded everything in the back of the jeep, and then took them to a nice place in West LA where they had a good steak dinner. Jake asked about the ranch and the people who lived nearby that he had grown up with. When they were finished, they headed to Jake's. It was about eight pm when they got there. Jake helped them with their luggage and carried it into one of his guest rooms. They went back out to the kitchen and Shayna started making coffee. They made small talk while the coffee was heating up. When everything was ready, they retired to the living room and Jake started to tell them about Sandy and Trevor, how they had met and everything that had been going on for the last few months. After a while, Shayna got up.

"I don't know about you boys, but I'm bushed. Night, son, night, dear."

"Night, beautiful. I'm going to stay up a little while longer and talk. I'll be there in a little while."

Both men stood up and she gave them each a hug and a kiss, before she left the room. The men sat down again. For the next few minutes they drank their coffee in silence. Sean was studying Jake. They sat in silence for a few minutes.

"Son, it's good to see you this way."

"What way, Dad?"

"Happy. There is a glow about you that I have not seen in a long time, since you were young."

"I have Sandy and especially Trevor to thank. I really love that boy. Well both of them, but he makes me feel special, like I can do anything."

"I can see that. I really can't wait to meet them both. I look forward to tomorrow."

Sean finished his cup and stood up. Jake followed him as he went into the kitchen and rinsed it out before he put it in the sink.

"Well, I think I'm going to go join that wonderful woman of mine in bed."

Sean walked over to Jake and gave him a strong hug.

"Sleep well, son. Merry Christmas. This looks to be a good one."

"Merry Christmas to you too, Dad. Sleep well, see you in the morning."

They parted and Jake sat back down on the couch and turned the TV on to watch the news and the weather report, so that he could see what the snow conditions were like in the local mountains. After he heard the report, he turned off the TV and went to bed.

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