"...please accept your daughter Denise into your arms and comfort her as we say our goodbyes, in hopes of being with her again...."
They stood near the graveside. Jeremy and Jared stood between Jeremy's Grandparents and Jake's family. Jared had his arm across Jeremy's shoulders as they stood there. Jeremy leaned a little bit into Jared. His eyes were teary as the pastor said the prayer. His grandmother dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief as her husband held her other hand. Trevor stood in front of his mother; her arms were draped around his shoulders and clasped in front, where he held them. Jake had his arm across her shoulders. Tom, Terry and Zach stood behind the two family groups as they said their farewells to Denise. When the pastor was finished they walked back to the cars. Jared kept his arm across Jeremy's shoulder, and Jeremy put his arm around Jared's waist and leaned against him a little during the walk. They got in the back of Sandy's car. Trevor rode with Zach. The little procession of cars headed back to Jake's house, where they gathered in the backyard. Dee sensed the somber mood and found a place in the shade to lie down. Talk was subdued around the yard. The boys were sitting together a little away from the adults. Jared rubbed his hand up and down Jeremy's back to comfort him, not daring to do too much more with Jeremy's grandparents around. Zach and Jared spent that night with their boyfriends.
The time for the wedding neared and the pace of the preparations picked up. Jeremy's grandparents worked at taking care of Denise's house. Jeremy had gotten everything out of the house that he wanted, like the TV, stereo and other electronics stuff. Except for some of the furniture and appliances, most of the stuff was given to Goodwill. There was no sighting of Roger Smith and after a few weeks. Jake had the security guys go back to other duties, since it appeared that Roger was gone from the area. There had been no more sense of being watched, so he started to relax a bit. The papers and the TV news ran stories on the attack and showed the picture of Roger Smith. So the thought was that since they had a good picture and description of him, he had probably skipped out of town. Also during this time, the court papers were signed and witnessed and Jeremy was now officially the son of Jake and Sandy.
One Saturday about a week before the wedding, the four boys were at the Brownings' house shooting hoops in the morning, because Jake and Sandy had some errands to run. So they had decided to spend that Friday night with the twins. They stopped as some moving trucks drove by. They watched as the trucks continued down the street to the end of the cul-de-sac and pulled up near the big house at the end.
"Hey, guys. It looks like someone's moving into that huge house down there."
"Yeah, it does. I wonder what the new owners are like. You guys want to go down and see?"
"Sure, Trev. Maybe they have some guys our age."
Zach went back to make sure the house was locked up before they walked down the street. His parents were out for most of the day as well. Trevor and Jeremy shared quick grins as they followed behind Zach and Jared. When they got to the house, they saw the moving men standing outside waiting. Trevor took the lead as they neared the house.
"Hi, mister, are the owners here?"
"No, kid, they're supposed to be here soon. We thought they'd be here by now."
"Oh. C'mon, guys, let's see if we can see inside the house."
"Cool it, Trevor, they're not here.'
"Then it's cool, we can look in the windows."
Trevor started heading up the walkway to the front of the house. Zach hissed at him, which caused him to stop halfway there.
"What are you doing, doofus, we're going to get in trouble."
"Naw, no one is here. It's not like we're going in or anything, we're just looking."
Trevor continued up the walk. Jeremy slowly followed him; Zach and Jared looked at each other and shrugged before following. Trevor went to a large window near the door, and carefully pulled his hand out of his pocket. As the other boys neared, he moved to the door and while he pretended to be looking through the glass in the top of the door, he carefully put the hidden key he held into the lock and unlocked the door. The moving men had been watching the four boys silently, and exchanged glances with each other. As the boys joined him, Trevor turned the knob and opened the door. He turned back to the others and smiled.
"Hey, look, the door's open. Let's go in and take a look."
"HEY! YOU KIDS SHOULDN'T BE GOING IN THERE! GET OUTTA THERE!"
Trevor quickly ducked inside, followed by Jeremy.
"Trevor! Get your butt out of there. You're going to get us in trouble."
Trevor stuck his head out and showed them a wide grin.
"C'mon in, chicken, it's pretty cool in here."
"What are you doing! Get out of here."
"Come and get me."
"Hey, you kids get out of there!"
Zach and Jared saw one of the moving guys moving towards them looking a little angry. There was no room to go past the guy, so they ran into the house, and shut the door behind them, and started looking for a back way out.
"We gotta get out of here. One of those moving guys is coming and he looks pissed."
Trevor and Jeremy were sitting on the stairs that lead upstairs and they were laughing at the look on the twins' faces.
"What's so funny? Get off your butts and let's get out of here, before the guy gets in here!"
Trevor looked at Jeremy.
"Should we tell 'em?"
"Yeah, we should, before they have heart attacks."
Trevor looked at the boys, who were standing there confused. He got up and walked over to Zach and put his arms around him. He gave him a hug, and then pulled back and gave him a quick kiss on the lips and stepped back, opening his arms wide.
"Welcome to our new home."
"I said 'Welcome to our new home'."
Zach and Jared looked at the other two with their jaws dropped open and looked around the room as the moving guy came in. He stopped when he saw the boys standing there. Trevor turned to him.
"Hi, Mr. Mattson. You guys can start bringing the stuff in. My Dad says all the boxes and furniture are labeled as to where they go. We'll help direct you where to put them. Most of the first boxes go in here or the dining room over there."
"Okay, Mr. Garrity."
The man turned away while he smiled and got the other movers working. Zach grabbed Trevor from behind.
"You fucker, I'm going to kick your ass for that."
"Now, you know we said we'd wait until we're older before we do that, and did you say 'kiss my ass'?"
Zach growled and Trevor turned around and kissed him, causing him to smile. As they heard the movers near the front door, they broke apart.
"Not fair, payback's a bitch, lover."
"I can hardly wait. You want to help us? Like I said to Mr. Mattson, I think most of the first bunches of boxes and furniture goes in here or the dining room. We'll take you guys on a tour, so you know where the rooms are, and then you can help us direct the movers."
"Cool, let's go."
For the next fifteen minutes, the boys walked around the house as Trevor showed them the rooms. This was Jeremy's first time here as well. When they got upstairs, Trevor showed them the room he had picked as his bedroom.
"This is going to be my room. Jake and my mom have the master bedroom at the end of the hall, and Jeremy, you have the pick of the other bedrooms. Jake and mom are putting the treadmill and bowflex in this room here, so Jeremy, I guess you get the one of the rooms the face the front of the house. Isn't this cool? We can go right from here out onto the balcony and to the backyard. Come on, I'll show you the backyard."
Trevor unlocked the sliding glass door and stepped out on the balcony; the boys were right behind him. He went to the railing and looked down. The boys gave quiet cries of joy.
"Cool, look at the pool. The backyard's huge."
They stood for a little while looking at the backyard and they went back inside. They stopped for a bit while Jeremy picked out his room, and then they headed back downstairs to help direct the movers. An hour later, Jake came walking in behind one of the movers, with Dee at his side. The dog trotted over to the boys when he saw them.
"Hi, guys, how's it going?'
"Hi, Dad, it's going great."
"Good to hear. So I guess you told them?"
"Yeah, you shoulda seen them when I walked in the house. They just about peed their pants."
"Did not, I was just worried about Trevor getting in trouble."
"Yeah, sure, Zach."
"So guys, what do you think?"
"It's great, Uncle Jake. This is so cool, you guys living just down the street. Does my Dad know about this too?"
"No, and he still does not know. So please don't tell him; we want to surprise your mom and dad. Okay?"
"Okay, Uncle Jake."
"Here's the plan. I've already asked your dad if he, Terry, and you guys want to get together, all of us, to go out for a bite to eat this evening. He said yes, so we're going to drive up and have you guys follow us. Then we're going to drive over here and spring it on them. You guys need to keep quiet about it, like you don't know."
"Okay, Uncle Jake."
"Good, well, let's get to work."
They helped with giving directions to the movers and helped get things situated as much as they could. Dee was put out in the back where he started sniffing around and getting to know his new home. By the afternoon, the furniture was in the rooms where they belonged and the moving trucks had left. There were some missing pieces because they planned on getting some new furniture for the house. Upstairs, the boys had gotten Trevor and Jeremy's rooms put together and their computers hooked up; clothes were put away. There was still some stuff to hang and shelves to install, but that could wait for another day. They helped Jake get the master bedroom put together and all of them went downstairs. Zach looked at his watch.
"We'd better get back home."
"You two go with them, remember mum's the word."
They boys headed back to the Browning home. They went inside to get some sodas, since they were all hot and sweaty from the work at the house. They were sitting in the kitchen eating some chips and drinking soda when they heard the front door open.
Zach and Jared got up and hugged their dad. He wrinkled up his face and looked down at them.
"Woo, you guys stink. What have you been doing?"
"Sorry, Dad, we were playing basketball."
Zach looked over to Trevor and Jared.
"Yeah, I guess we are a little sweaty and dirty. We'll go clean up."
"Good, because we're all going out to dinner with Jake and Sandy. They said they found a nice family place to eat."
The boys were having a hard time holding in the giggles when he said that.
"Okay, Dad, that sounds cool. We'll go get ready."
"Good, they should be here in about an hour. I already told your mom, and she should be here soon."
The boys got to the bedroom and almost collapsed into giggling fits. Once they calmed down they started getting undressed.
"Okay, who wants to shower first?"
"Well, the shower's big enough so let's pair up with our boyfriends. Which pair is first?"
"We'll flip for it."
Zach beat his brother by raising his middle finger first. He laughed.
"We won. We get it first."
"Asshole, I meant coins."
"Okay, you should be more specific."
Jeremy took a quarter out of his pocket and held it up ready to flip.
"Zach, call it."
He flipped it up in the air.
It landed tails up on the floor.
"See, told ya we win. Come on, lover boy, let's go get the stink off."
The boys walked out the door in their underwear and into the bathroom. Once they were in the room, they turned to each other and put their arms around each other and kissed. Zach turned on the shower and adjusted it before he turned back to Trevor. They pulled back a bit and then reached down and pushed each other's underwear off until it fell to the floor, and they stepped out of them. They continued kissing and touching each other for a little longer, until the water seemed to be the right temperature. They held hands as they got into the shower. They took their time cleaning each other's body and washing their hair. Zach got behind Trevor and reached around him and touched him. Trevor leaned back against him and closed his eyes and enjoyed the feelings. After a short time he started to tense up and breathe harder.
"Zach, I'm getting close. Don't stop... please don't stop."
Zach sped up a little, causing Trevor to moan a little. Both of his hands were working at this time.
"Here it c...cooomes."
Zach felt Trevor's body tense up and then relax. Trevor's knees started to buckle, and Zach supported him until Trevor's tense relaxed and his breathing slowed down. When he was recovered, he turned to Zach and kissed him.
"That was awesome, now it's my turn."
They grinned as they switched places. Trevor copied his movements and soon Zach was in the same state. In no time Zach was coming down from his high as well, when there was a loud knocking on the door.
"Will you two quit already, and get out and leave us some hot water?."
The boys grinned and got out of the shower, leaving it on. They opened the door and let Jared and Jeremy come in. They looked the two of them as they entered and rolled their eyes, before quickly stripping their underwear off and getting in the shower. Zach and Trevor wrapped the towels around themselves and picked up their underwear. From behind them they heard Jared yell at them.
"Yuck, at least you could have cleaned up after yourselves."
Trevor and Zach nearly collapsed from laughing.
"So... sorry bro's... forgot."
They went back into the bedroom to finish drying off and got dressed. After twenty minutes the other two come back in smiling.
"Ain't showers great?"
They all laughed at Jeremy's comment. Once everyone was dried off and dressed, they went to the living room, where Tom and Terry were sitting and watching the TV. Soon there was a knock at the door and Jake came in.
"Hi, everyone. Ready to go?"
Tom nodded as they got up and followed Jake outside.
"Oh, she said she'd meet us there, Terry.'
"Okay. Well, let's get going."
Trevor and Jeremy got into Jake's car while the twins got in the back seat of their Dad's SUV. The four boys were all doing their best to keep their composure. Jake pulled out and headed down the street. Tom followed him, confused as to why Jake didn't just turn around, since the street was a cul-de-sac with no outlet. He shrugged and followed, then almost stopped when Jake pulled into the driveway of the large house at the end of the block and stopped. Tom slowed down as Jake got out and he and the boys stood in the front yard. Tom started to put the window down as the front door opened and Sandy stepped out waving. Tom and Terry exchanged looks as the back seat erupted in giggles. They looked back at the boys, who were leaning against each other and now laughing and clutching their sides.
"How long have you boys known about this?"
"J...he he... just today, Dad. That's what we were doing all day, helping them move in."
Tom pulled in front of the house and stopped the car. He got out and looked at Jake with a mock angry look that he couldn't hold and started smiling.
"You rat bastard. How come you didn't tell me?"
"We wanted it to be a surprise, Buddy."
"Well it was that. Well, Buddy, why don't you give us a tour?"
"I promised you guys dinner, so come on in and we'll eat first, and then give you a tour."
Tom put his arm around Jake as they went into the house for dinner.
By the end of the week they were all moved in, and school ended for the summer. They gave out their new address to their friends at school and promised to keep in touch over the summer. Jake, Tom and the boys helped Jeremy's grandparents move into Jake's old house, mostly to keep the guys out of the way as much as possible.
A week before the wedding, Jake's parents came out to help with the final preparations, staying with Jake and his family in the new house. The week was a flurry of activity as everyone tried on their clothing for the wedding. Sandy's dress was made of soft white elk skin covered in beading and quillwork with matching moccasins. Jake was dressed in a white elk skin war shirt and pants with beading and quillwork all over it and matching moccasins. The others had yellow elk skin clothing and moccasins, with a bit less beading and quillwork. Sean gave each of the men and boys a choker that he had made for them with bone hairpipe and glass beads. The ladies had chokers made of dentallium and beads. The ladies did not get to see the men in their clothes, and vice versa. After hearing a few months back that the wedding would be a traditional Cheyenne wedding, the boys had decided to let their hair grow longer and by the time of the wedding, it reached to their shoulders.
On the day of the wedding they gathered at El Dorado Park in Long Beach. They area chosen was surrounded by trees and was near the lake. A large pavilion had been set up for the reception. Nearby two large tents had been set up, one for the ladies and one for the men to get dressed in. Inside the women's tent, once Shayna and Terry were dressed they helped Sandy with the final touches. Since she wore her hair kind of short, they dressed it with quilled and beaded medicine wheels and rosettes with ermine tails hanging from them. In the men's tent, Sean was there to help them all be prepared. He helped all of them put the final touches on their clothing. All of them were in warshirts and leather trousers. Jake had his hair unbound and flowing below his shoulders, except for two small braids hanging down the sides of his face. In his hair Sean had attached several eagle feathers. They were the feathers that Jake was awarded by his people for the bravery he had shown during his military service, just as any warrior from the past would have been awarded. These were honors given by the tribe to recognize his service. All of the boys had long hair and theirs was braided the same as Jake's. Tom, who couldn't stand having his hair long, was the exception. Trevor wore his wolf necklace on the outside of his warshirt.
Outside the guests gathered. There were people from the security company, and from Sandy and Terry's workplaces. Friends from the Sheriff's department were there, as well as friends from the Scout troop. All together there were over a hundred people gathered to witness this wedding. There was a Native American singers group nearby, ready to start. Soon Sean came out, in full regalia in white elk skin clothing, very heavily quilled and beaded. On his head he wore a buffalo headdress. He came to the front of the group and signaled to the drum group. They started the drumbeat and song. Everyone quieted as Jake and Tom, followed by the boys, came down the aisle to the beat of the drum. Jake took his place at Sean's left with Tom next to him. The boys separated and went to either side of the front stage area, Trevor and Zach on Jake's side, Jared and Jeremy to the opposite side. When they were in place, the drumbeat and song changed and now the women started down the aisle. Sandy was followed by Shayna and Terry. There were several "oohs and ahs" from the crowd for the magnificence of the clothes that they all wore. When everyone was in place, camera flashes went off everywhere. Sean held up his hands, and the drummers and the crowd quieted. Sean started with a short blessing in Cheyenne before switching to English.
"I thank you all for coming today, to witness the joining of this man, Jacob MacLaren, and this woman, Sandra Garrity. They found love without looking for it, and it encompasses their lives and those around them. They wish their families to be joined in happiness, long life and good health and hope that all here wish them the same. Sandra."
Sandy handed her flowers off to Terry, and Trevor stepped forward and handed her a ring. She took the ring and Jake's hand.
"I come today before our friends and family to ask that we be joined together from this day forward, so that all will hear that I speak my heart to you. Your trials will be my trials. Your joys will be my joys. I stand in support of you, as an equal. We will face everything together. I stand behind you when necessary, besides you as needed, and in front of you when I must. I accept your strength to protect me and our family. I give my strength to you when you need it. Together we are stronger than we are apart. I will let nothing come between us and our children. I promise this from this day until death parts us."
Sandy placed the ring on Jake's hand. Trevor then handed a ring to Jake. He accepted it with a smile and then took Sandy's hand.
"I also come before our friends and family to ask that we be joined together from this day forward, so that all will hear that I speak my heart to you. I swear before all today that you will never lack anything that you need. Together as equals we will face everything that confronts us, whether it is dangers that threaten us or happiness that overwhelms us. Our family can only become stronger the longer we are together. I accept you as an equal in this life, but since the Great Spirit has made me a warrior, I will risk all to keep you and our family safe from any who threaten it. I swear this before the Great Spirit and the Spirits of my Ancestors, that I will do this to the best of my ability until death parts us."
He slipped the ring on Sandy's finger and then enfolded her hands in his as they faced Sean. Sean took an old beaded sash and wrapped it around their hands binding them together. When he finished, he looked up at the sky and raised his hands high and out.
"Great Spirit, we ask you to look down and bless this joining of man and woman. You can feel the strength and love flowing from these two people as it enfolds their friends and families that surround them. This strength and love will protect and guide their two sons as they grow to be strong men, imparting into them the love that a good family can give. Great Spirit, give them the power to defeat any that threaten them, and happiness to enjoy all the good things that flow from you. Let your wisdom guide them as they make their way through this life.
Sean brought his hands down now and took their bound hands into his. He looked at them with a smiling face.
"Sandy and Jake, know that the Great Spirit has brought you together for a purpose, and will support you as you promised to support each other. No matter how long you have together, it will be a beautiful thing. Sandy, you will raise strong sons. Jake, you will protect your family. Together you will be stronger than you would be apart. May your days be filled with joy. I now pronounce you husband and wife; you may kiss the bride."
Sean unwrapped their hands and stepped back as Jake took Sandy in his arms and kissed her. The crowd cheered. When they broke apart, smiling at each other, Sean turned them to face the audience and put his hands on their shoulders.
"I present to you, Jacob and Sandra MacLaren."
Sean let loose with a war cry, quickly joined by Jake as the audience stood and applauded. The boys added their own versions of a war cry, jumping up and down. After a minute or two the sounds subsided, and Jake and Sandy made their way down the aisle, followed by the rest of the wedding party. They made their way over to the pavilion to start the reception. As the day was a nice warm June day, the sides of the pavilion were rolled up. The wedding party and the guests made their way to seats inside as the caterers stood by to start the meal. The pavilion was laid out with a large portable dance floor surrounded by the tables and chairs. The wedding party was seated on a dais at the front. There was a DJ in the corner playing music. The meal was quickly served and cleared away. After they had eaten, Jake and Sandy made their way around the pavilion, greeting everyone and spending time at each table. Before the cake was brought out, Tom stood up to give his toast.
"To all who have gathered to bless this union, thank you. I have known Jake for many years. When I married Terry fourteen years ago, Jake stood by as my best man and I was honored when he asked me to be his. Since that time, Terry has made it her life's work to get him hitched."
The crowd laughed at this.
"Any time there was someone who seemed even slightly attracted to him, she jumped in and did what she could to encourage it. Needless to say, she usually failed with this stoic Injun."
"As it turned out, he didn't need her help with that; he just didn't want to drive far to find a wife. He just waited until she moved across the street."
"Once that happened, he was hooked. Not by her, but by his real best man, Trevor."
He pointed to the boy, who was blushing.
"When he met Trevor, Jake grabbed the hook, but once he met her, she set it and reeled him in. As the weeks and months went by, Terry and I could see that the single female population had lost him, forever. It was only a matter of time before he knew it, but eventually she convinced him and here we are today. I give you Jake and Sandy, my best friends."
There was applause as Tom raised his glass in salute. The applause died down.
"I named Trevor as his real best man, and he has asked if he could say something as well."
Tom handed the microphone to Trevor, who had left Zach's side to stand beside Tom and Jake. He faced Jake.
"I want to say thank you. I'm glad that I was bored that day when you were working on your Jeep."
"Since that day, you have treated me like a son and made me feel safe and protected, like I have not felt since my dad died. You have taught me things, and helped me learn things, that I might never have known without you around. You have accepted me as I am without holding anything back, and for that I will always love you. Because of you I have met other people that have become important to me, Uncle Tom and Aunt Terry. I have also met Zach, the best friend that I could ever find in my life, because of you.
Trevor smiled at Zach, who answered with a smile of his own.
"I love you, Zach."
"Not as much as I love you, Trev."
"Thank you for marrying my mom and for taking me as your son. This is my dream come true. I'll love you forever."
Trevor handed the microphone to Tom as he put his arms around Jake's neck. Both of them wept tears of joy. Everyone in the wedding party has teary eyes as well, as did many of the guests. They stayed together, with Jake rocking him a little. Sandy reached over and stroked Trevor's hair. Trevor let go and stood back up, wiping his eyes as he smiled at Jake. He walked over to his mom and hugged her as well, then made his way back to Zach's side. When he sat down, Zach took his hand under the table and squeezed it while smiling at him. Once everyone had eaten and the meal was cleared away, the wedding cake was brought out, cut and served. Jake and Sandy refrained from smashing the cake on each other's face and gently fed each other, and then kissed with their mouths full of cake, causing more laughter from the crowd. Then the dancing started. Jake and Sandy stepped forward to start the dancing; after a few minutes other couples joined them. For the next few hours, Jake and Sandy circulated about, spending time with their friends. The daughters of the guests who were about the boys' ages dragged them out to the dance floor as well. Everyone who attended had a great time. Later the family returned to the new house to wind down before Jake and Sandy left for their honeymoon on the next day. Trevor and Jeremy were going to be staying at their boyfriends' house for the next week while their parents were gone, which was no burden on anyone, especially the boys. After a week Jake and Sandy returned, nicely tanned and relaxed and they all went home to their new life.
The ringing phone woke the man from his sleep as he turned over and fumbled for the phone by the bed.
"This better be good."
"There's no Mr. Smith here."
"Uh, sorry, wrong number, sorry, bye."
The guy turned on the light, sat up and stretched before standing. He was completely naked as he made his way to the bathroom. The light from the bathroom door fell on the partially covered naked body of a boy asleep on his stomach on the other side of the bed. When he finished in the bathroom, he sat back down on the bed, picked up the phone and dialed a number as he eased back against the headboard. As the phone rang he gently stroked the back of the boy, causing him to stir.
"Hello, this is Dion."
"Dion, what did you find out?"
"I found where they moved to. It is just a few miles away. Some old folks have moved into the Indian dude's house, and the other house is for sale. I tricked the old folks into telling me where they moved to and went over there. It is a huge house near where that other guy, the Indian dude's friend, lives. It looks like the Indian dude just got married to the blond kid's mom and they're all living in that huge house."
"Good work, Dion. Keep me posted. Send me updates on my email. I'm going to be busy for a few weeks, but give me regular updates on what they do and times people leave, you know what I want, and I will make sure you get your payment for services rendered."
"Thanks, Mr. Smith."
"You're welcome, Dion. I appreciate the work you've done and I won't forget it. You like the young girls, don't you?"
"You know I do."
"When I finish with the business I have to attend to, I'll see what I can do."
"Thanks, I'll keep in touch."
James Harvey finished the call, and after he hung up he began to stroke the back of the boy next to him, causing him to wake up with a groan. The boy looked at him with a sleepy smile. The boy moved over close to James, who pulled the covers away, revealing the naked boy's body. He pulled and guided the boy to lie on top of him, and stroked down his back to his butt, smiling.
The rest of June went by with the boys spending a lot of time at each other's house. The MacLaren home was the usual home of choice because of the swimming pool and a lot of ninety degree plus days. The skins of the boys became nicely tanned since they spent most of their days in shorts and no shirts, even when they weren't swimming, from spending time at a nearby park playing some Over the Line or shooting hoops at the Browning home. Jake and Tom had also continued the self defense lessons with the boys, since the events in May. All of the boys got proficient in protecting themselves. They could now give someone who attacked them a run for their money. They also had added muscle because of workouts with the equipment that Jake had at the house. They occasionally went over to Trevor's old neighborhood to visit Luke and Gary, especially when Trevor and Jeremy visited Jeremy's grandparents at Jake's old home. The four boys spent the first week of July on Catalina Island with their Scout troop at Summer Camp. By the time they returned, the twins were First Class Scouts and Trevor and Jeremy were Second Class Scouts, with just a couple of requirements left before they could make First Class. They had all earned a few merit badges and had a large amount of fun. They went back to their summer life of chores, playing sports at the park, swimming at the MacLaren home, and just hanging out. The two couples' feelings for each other grew stronger, especially on their frequent sleepovers at each other's homes.
Toward the end of June another important milestone was reached by the family. Jake and Sandy stayed home from work that day. They got the boys up early enough to get cleaned up and dressed in their suits. By seven am, they were on their way to the court. After making it through the metal detectors, they followed the instructions on their court summons and soon found themselves outside one of the Family Court rooms. They were soon joined by a lawyer from the law firm Sandy worked for, Adam Bradshaw. Sandy introduced Jake and the boys to him.
"I'm pleased to meet all of you. This shouldn't take long, depending on what cases are before us. Any questions before we go in?"
He looked around and saw that everyone was shaking their heads no. Soon everyone that was waiting outside were allowed into the courtroom and directed by one of the bailiffs to seats in the gallery. The judge waited until everyone was seated before he directed the clerk to call the first case. The first few cases were quickly resolved or continued. At ten am they were called.
"All interested parties in the case for adoption of Trevor James Garrity by Jacob MacLaren, please step forward."
Adam directed the family to the table in front of the judge, while he addressed the court.
"Adam Bradshaw for the family of Jacob MacLaren and Sandy Garrity-MacLaren."
"Very good, Counselor; I have reviewed the documents on this case. Mrs. MacLaren, I assume that you have no objections to Mr. MacLaren's petition to adopt your son, Trevor James Garrity?"
Sandy stood up.
"No, your honor, none at all."
"Excellent, then unless there are any objections, I declare the petition for Jacob MacLaren to adopt Trevor Garrity approved. His name is now legally Trevor James Garrity MacLaren. Congratulations."
Trevor hugged Jake.
"Now I see here, Mr. Bradshaw, that you have another case before me this morning concerning a Jeremy Davis, also an adoption case?"
"Yes, your honor, I do."
"Are all parties here?"
"Yes, your honor."
They voice came from the gallery behind them. They turned around and saw Mr. and Mrs. Davis were standing there smiling. The judge motioned them forward. He glanced down to the paperwork before him.
"Mr. and Mrs. Davis?"
"Yes, your honor."
"Very good, please take a seat at the table."
"In the case of the adoption of Jeremy Davis by Jacob and Sandra MacLaren. Mr. Davis and your wife are the last living relatives of Jeremy Davis?"
"Yes, your honor."
"And your reason for giving up custody of Jeremy to Mr. and Mrs. MacLaren?"
"We had our daughter Denise, Jeremy's mother, late in life; she was a bit of a surprise in fact. Because of that, we are now in our early seventies, and though we are in fairly good health, we think it could be hard for us to keep up with a teenage boy. Besides, to us, it is not that we are losing a grandson, but we are gaining another grandson, and a son and daughter. We can think of no finer parents than Jake and Sandy. They love our grandson like he was their own."
"Very well then, as there are no objections, then I declare the adoption of Jeremy Davis to be approved. His name shall be legally changed to Jeremy Davis MacLaren. Congratulations and good luck to all of you."
"Thank you, your honor."
Adam ushered the family out of the courtroom. They thanked Adam for his work on their behalf. The family, including the Davises, went out for a celebratory lunch.
The darkened bar was exactly what the doctor ordered. Dion Jennings was sitting there in a back corner, drinking a beer, when a blond-haired man carrying a laptop case sat down in the seat across from him.
"Hey, dude, who d'you think you are? I'm waiting for a friend."
"Evening, Dion, it's me."
Dion sat up and took a closer look, and recognition came into his eyes.
"Man, what happened to you? You look different."
"Good, that's the idea. I had a little plastic surgery. My face got kind of well-known around here and I have some unfinished business to attend to. Being too easily recognized would greatly hinder that."
"Oh. It worked; with the blond hair and all, I didn't recognize you. So what did you need, man?"
"I plan on taking care of my unfinished business. I have a good friend who is interested in the kid, Jeremy, and I need your help. What can you tell me about the house?"
"It's two stories, real big too. I think all the bedrooms are on the top floor. There is a stair in the back that leads up to a deck on the second floor. There are two sliding glass doors on the second floor deck and one on the first floor. They got a big wolf-looking dog in the backyard."
"Do you know who is in which room?"
"No, I couldn't get close enough to make sure. I think at least one of the kids' rooms opens onto the deck, but I don't know which kid."
"That might be the best way into the house. I'll have to get rid of the dog. No problem there, a quick bullet in the head and that should keep it quiet. I'll have to use a silencer, but that's no problem. Let's take a look at this."
James took his laptop out of the case and Dion scooted around so that he could see the screen. When James opened the laptop, he hit a key and the screen came alive. On it was the Mapquest web page and it was set to show a picture of the neighborhood around the MacLaren home. James pointed at the screen.
"Here's where we'll go in. We park in the parking lot just to the north of the house. Don't park too close so we don't alert the dog. I'll sneak up and take out the dog. Then I'll have you move the car closer. Once I'm in the backyard, you wait here by the back fence. I'll make my way up the back stairs and break into one of the rooms there. If the kid is in there, I've got some chloroform to knock him out, and I'll carry him down here, and you can help me get him over the wall and into the car, and we'll get out of here fast. If not, I'll find him; I'll search the rooms until I find him and anyone who gets in my way, I'll take 'em out. So all you have to do is wait here until I come back down. Got it?"
"Yeah, sounds easy. When?"
"Two days. I want you nearby, to make sure they're home, and then we get in, get the kid and get out."
"All right, call me with confirmation and we'll get this done. You will be well compensated for your assistance."
"No problem, I'll be in touch."
James closed the laptop and put it away. He shook Dion's hand and left. Dion finished his beer and left.
Two days later in the late afternoon, Dion was on the top of a nearby apartment building, pretending to be checking out the AC equipment on the roof. From time to time he took out some small binoculars and looked over toward the MacLaren home. He could see the boys playing in the pool. Soon enough he saw the man and woman come home from work and go inside. As it started to get dark, he made a call.
"Everyone's there and they don't look like they're leaving any time soon."
"Good. I'll meet you in five hours near the theatres at the mall. We'll go from there."
"See you then."
Dion hung up the phone and picked up his tool bag. He made his way back down to his work truck, put the ladder back on top and stowed the tool bag away. He got in the truck and drove off. Four hours later Dion pulled in behind the Pacific Theatres at Lakewood Mall and waited. Soon enough James pulled up next to him. He got out of his car and locked it. James got into Dion's car carrying a small bag. He nodded and Dion started the car. It took them just a few minutes to make their way to the parking lot behind the MacLaren home. They parked in an area of the lot, well away from the back fence that allowed them to see the lights on the house and waited.
Inside the house Trevor and Jeremy were in Trevor's room, playing on the Playstation, when Jake came in at about eleven.
"Guys, it's late and I think it's time you get to bed."
"I'll be back up in a little while to say goodnight."
Jake nodded and walked back downstairs. The boys put the game away and Jeremy went to his room.
"Night, Trevor. See you in the morning."
Trevor stripped down to his underwear and got into bed. He picked up a book he was reading from the bedside table and found where he left off. He was reading when Jake came in. He looked up when Jake came in the room.
Jake sat down next to Trevor and put his arm around him.
"How's your summer been?"
"Great. Zach and Jared were here today. We're all going to go to the movies tomorrow over at the mall."
"What're you going to see?"
"Don't know yet; we'll see what's playing when we get there."
"Sounds like a good idea. Don't forget the yard work you have to do tomorrow."
Jake leaned down and kissed Trevor on the forehead and started to get up. Trevor stopped him with a hand on his arm. Jake turned and looked at Trevor smiling.
"What's the matter, did I forget something?"
"Naw, I just wanted to uh, ask...uh, would you stay with me for awhile and give me snuggles. It's been awhile and I kinda miss 'em."
"You know I will. I kinda miss 'em too. I've already said goodnight to Jer, so I guess I could spare the time."
Trevor scooted over a little while Jake made himself comfortable against the headboard with his arms around Trevor. Trevor had moved onto his side and put an arm around Jake. He rested his head against Jake's chest and closed his eyes with a slight smile on his face. Sandy found them like that a few minutes later. Jake looked up and smiled.
"I'll be in in a little while; he wanted some snuggles."
"Okay, but don't wait too long, I may want some too, if you have any left."
"I got plenty; I'll save ya some."
"Okay, night, dear."
"Night, I'll be there soon."
She nodded and made her way to their room. Jake stroked Trevor's hair as he looked down at him. The gentle breathing of the sleeping boy lulled him to sleep, as he held him.
In the parking lot behind the house, James and Dion watched as lights turned off until they saw one dim light still shining from an upper room. They waited for a little while longer. It was after midnight when James got out of the car, followed by Dion. He opened the rear door of the car and grabbed the small bag. From inside he took out a pair of black gloves and put them on. He then reached into the bag and took out a 9mm pistol. He reached in the bag and withdrew a silencer that he screwed onto the 9mm. He chambered a round and put the pistol down. He reached inside the bag again and pulled a small fanny pack, which he fastened around his waist, and then he took out a shoulder holster and slipped it on. He opened the fanny pack and checked its contents: chloroform, rag, duct tape, mag light, glass cutter, he nodded and zipped it closed. He grabbed what looked like a stocking cap and put it on his head. He grabbed the small step ladder that Dion had taken out of the trunk and looked at Dion.
"Okay. Keep an eye on me. I'll give you a flash from my light when I'm ready for you to move the car to the back wall. It looks like there is a good shadow there, so no one should see you. I see you disabled the interior light like I asked you to; good. All right, watch for the light."
Dion got back into the car as James made his way carefully to the back wall of the MacLaren property. He stayed within the shadows as much as he could. In the black jeans and black long sleeve shirt that he was wearing, he blended in well. When he got to the wall he quietly and slowly opened the ladder and put it against the wall. He pulled on the stocking cap and it unfolded to reveal that it was a full face ski mask. He carefully looked over the top of the wall and spied the dog lying nearby. It had raised its head and was starting to look around. James carefully sighted down the barrel and there was a 'Phtt' sound and Dee dropped. James opened the fanny pack and took out the light. He directed it to where Dion's car was located. He flashed it once and then put it back in the pack. He saw the car start up and it slowly made its way over to him. Dion stopped it in a nearby shadow and shut it off. He got out of the car and made his way over to James.
"Okay, Dion, wait here. The dog's out of the picture. I'm going to get the kid. You got your gun?"
"Yep, right here."
Dion pulled the light jacket aside, showing the gun in the holster. James nodded.
"Good. When I get back with the kid, I'll signal you with a whistle, and you get up to the top of the wall and help me get him over. If you hear any commotion, be prepared to help me and we'll get outta here. Clear?"
James nodded and pulled himself up and over the wall, dropping the short distance down onto some flowers in a raised flower bed. He drew the pistol and carefully made his way to the back of the house. He carefully walked up the back stairs, testing each step for any sounds before he put his weight down on it. He stayed on the side near the house to reduce the chance of noise. It took him a few minutes to make it to the top of the stairs. He continued moving slowly and carefully as he made his way to the first sliding glass door. The room beyond was dark. The other room had a dim light shining through the drapes covering it. He looked closely into the dark room and saw some workout equipment. He tested the door and found it was locked. He holstered the pistol and reached into his bag, pulling out a glass cutter with a suction cup. He positioned it near the handle and cut out a circle, held in place by the suction cup. He tapped around the circle quietly and the hole broke free. He pulled the circular piece of glass out and laid it down on the deck. He returned the cutter to his pack.
Reaching in, he unlocked the door and slowly slid it open. He went inside and went to the open door leading farther into the house. He looked into the hall. To the left he could see two doors down the hall in that direction, one for the other room that led to the deck, where the dim light was on, and one across from that toward the front of the house. Across from him was a door that appeared to lead into a bathroom. To the right, there was another door a little ways down the hall. At the end of the hall was a partially opened door. He drew the pistol and eased the door to the bathroom open to be sure it was empty. Then he turned and made his way to the right. He went to the door down the hall and listened for any sound. Hearing none, he eased the door open. Inside was an empty bedroom, he guessed it was for guests.
He went to the partially opened door at the end of the hall. In the light that shone from the front window, he could make out that this was the master bedroom. He moved closer to the bed. As he neared it, he tripped on something and the figure in the bed stirred. He quickly aimed the pistol and shot twice, and the figure quit moving with a grunt. He looked down and saw a pair of shoes that he had tripped on. He silently cursed and then held still as he listened for any other movement in the house. After a few moments he left the room and made his way down the hall. He paused at the bathroom and looked in again. Seeing nothing, he continued moving down the hall. He looked at the two doors. He could see the faint light shining from underneath the door on the left. He moved to it, and slowly turned the knob, easing the door open.
In the room, Jake slowly opened his eyes and saw that he was still holding Trevor. He smiled at him and gave him a kiss on the forehead before he eased him down and got up from the bed. He heard a noise from the bedroom door and turned to the door as it was opened, and for a second he was shocked to see a man standing there all in black. As the figure raised his arm, Jake saw the gun and reacted. He charged the man and slammed him against the door frame, knocking the gun up. James' finger reflexively fired it, putting a hole in the ceiling. James kicked Jake in the shin causing him in his disoriented condition to fall back against Trevor's bed. The jarring of the bed woke Trevor. Jake charged the man again.
"Wha...What's going on?"
He looked and saw Jake struggling with a masked man in the doorway and his eyes widened. He screamed.
James hit Jake on the side of his head with the gun and pushed him away from him and to the floor, causing Jake to release him and fall back a few feet. James aimed the gun at Trevor and pulled the trigger once. The gun made almost no sound, but there was the distinct wet sound of a bullet hitting flesh as the bullet hit Trevor high on the left side of his chest, which knocked him back down at the far edge of the bed and stunned him. Jake looked at Trevor and saw the blood start to flow from the wound. He roared as he charged James.
"You motherfucker, you're fucking dead!"
James fired once at Jake before Jake reached him. Across the hall Jeremy opened the door as Jake slammed James into the door jamb. The gun went off again, putting a hole in the sliding glass door. Jeremy stood there in just his underwear, stunned at the sight of Jake and the masked man struggling against each other. James pushed Jake back toward the sliding glass door, knocking against some shelves on the wall as both of the men and the shelves went down. Jeremy ran into the room and looked around. He saw Trevor lying back on the bed and ran over and jumped up onto the bed to help him. Just as he eased Trevor from the edge and up onto the bed more securely so he didn't fall off, James got his feet underneath Jake and kicked him away. Jake flew back and slammed into Jeremy's back, which pushed him forward and caused his head to hit the edge of the headboard of Trevor's bed. Jeremy fell back and off the bed with a small gash on his head, knocked out. Jake staggered back up and charged James as he got up off the floor. James fired again at Jake before he reached him, causing a slight pause in his charge. Jake slammed him against the wall by the sliding glass door. He grabbed the arm that held the gun and slammed it into the wall several times. Eventually he caused the gun to fly free. James pushed back, Jake felt weak and he fell back toward the hallway door. James looked around for the gun, and as he spied it, Jake quickly gathered himself and rushed James. He grabbed him around the waist and forced him towards the sliding glass door. The glass, already having been weakened by the bullet hole in it, gave way as they collided and they both went through the glass.
James was slammed against the deck railing as Jake fell to the deck of the balcony, just over the threshold. They were both groaning as they got up. James looked at Jake, who had murder in his eyes, and turned to the stairway and ran. Jake started to follow but, although he didn't hear it, he saw chunks of the wood railing fly away from apparent bullet impacts, and he dived back into Trevor's room. He got up from the floor and heard movement from the bed. Trevor had levered himself up and saw the front of Jake's shirt covered in blood as he staggered toward him. Tears were streaming down his face as he looked at Jake.
"DAD! HELP ME!"
"I'm here. I...'m he..."
Just as Jake reached the bed he collapsed on it, lying as a dead weight across Trevor's legs….
Trevor saw the blood soaked shirt and Jake's eyes roll up as he collapsed, and it was too much for him and he passed out.
Down at the back wall, Dion put his gun away as James made it to the back wall and climbed over. Dion had already run to the car and opened the driver's door. He jumped in as James threw the stepladder in the back seat. He quickly opened the passenger door and jumped in, tearing the ski mask off. His sweating face was revealed as he took several deep breaths while Dion pulled away quickly but without screeching the tires. They drove back to the Mall where James retrieved his car.
"What happened, boss?"
"That fucking Indian was in the room with the boy when I went in and he jumped me, but I think I got at least one shot into him. I hope the fucker dies. I'll call you in a few days, Dion."
They stopped at James' car, and Dion nodded as they separated and drove away.
Back at the house a siren was heard in the distance as a groan was heard from Trevor's bed. Rolling over, the person shook his head and looked around the room. He saw the smashed glass door and got up. He was dizzy for a moment so he took some deep breaths and held his hands to his head. He closed his eyes and shook his head to clear it. When he opened his eyes again, he looked around and the events of the night came back to him. He quickly whirled around and looked towards the bed. He saw Trevor lying there with blood covering the left side of his chest. He looked down and saw Jeremy lying unconscious on the floor. Jake then looked down and saw his blood soaked shirt. He put his hands to his chest and got a puzzled look on his face. He ripped the shirt open and took it off. He looked down as he ran his hand over his chest. He rubbed the shirt across his chest and looked down in wonder at the unmarked skin.
'What the fuck?! I know I was shot. I felt the bullets hit me in the chest, but my adrenaline was so high, it didn't slow me down.'
He wiped his chest some more and found nothing to mark his skin, not even bullet scars. He inspected the front of the shirt and saw two bullet holes in the center of the shirt. He had a shocked expression on his face, and was stunned until he remembered...
He quickly moved to Trevor's side and saw the bloody wound. He wadded his shirt up and pressed it down on the wound as the sirens got closer. He felt a movement at his feet and looked down as Jeremy came to and looked around. He saw Jake standing next to the bed shirtless and remembered what had just happened. He got up and grabbed Jake for support. Jake reached out with one hand and helped him up. He saw what Jake was doing and tears spilled down his cheeks.
"Ja... Dad, is Trevor going... to... to be okay?"
"He's alive and I hear sirens coming. Go out and direct them here. Go on, son, I need you to do this. I have to keep pressure on the wound. Go, quick."
Jeremy nodded numbly and ran from the room and downstairs. He quickly unlocked the front door, and ran outside waving his arms, not caring that he was wearing just his underwear. Two patrol cars pulled up and the officers got out of the car. One of the deputies ran to his trunk and took a blanket out of it. The other deputy ran to the boy. He saw blood coming from the cut on Jeremy's head that ran down his face.
"What's going on here?"
"Some... one... shot my... br... brother. He's hurt... dad is he... helping him."
The other deputy came up with the blanket and wrapped it around Jeremy.
"Shot? Someone is shot? Who's shot? Are they still in the house?"
"Trevor, my bro... brother... shot. Dad's..."
"Your Dad shot your brother?"
"No, no, no..."
"Stay here with the boy, Allen, I'm going in; call for paramedics."
"Careful, watch your ass. Dispatch, David 7."
"David 7, Dispatch, go ahead."
"We have a possible shooting at that domestic disturbance call on McNab. Send Paramedics, ambulance and a supervisor. David 9 is going in."
"10-4, EMS and supervisor on the way."
"Sir, you don't understand, my Dad did not shoot Trevor, someone did, my Dad fought him off! Whoever did it is gone! You gotta tell him! He can't hurt my dad!"
"Calm down, son. So you saw it?"
"Yeah! Some guy shot my brother, not my Dad!"
The deputy grabbed his mic. Inside the house, Deputy Nick Weston slowly made his way up the stairs, his gun drawn and ready. He heard noises upstairs as he climbed. He saw a light coming from an open door, and the noise seemed to be coming from there. He neared it and gathered himself. He moved to the door and peeked inside. He saw a large long haired man holding some blood soaked cloth to a boy's chest; his back was turned to the deputy. The deputy entered the room and yelled.
"SHERIFF'S OFFICE, FREEZE!"
The man turned around and looked at the officer in disbelief, tears running down his face.
"What the fuck are you doing, idiot. This boy's bleed..."
"I TOLD YOU TO FREEZE, ASSHOLE!"
"This is my son, I..."
"I KNOW, YOU SHOT HIM! LET ME SEE YOUR HANDS!"
"HE WHAT? ARE YOU...!"
"Nick, this is Allen. Stand down!"
Nick used one hand to key the mic, while keeping his gun trained on Jake.
"What are you talking about, Allen?!"
"The father is not the shooter, it was someone else that did it. The father fought him off!"
"Yeah, the kid told me; you took off before he could tell you."
"Okay, got it."
The deputy lowered his gun, but did not holster it. He moved over to the bed and looked at the boy as more sirens neared the house.
"I hope you have an ambulance on the way; he's hurt"
"Yeah, that should be them pulling up."
Jake suddenly got a stricken look on his face.
"Oh shit! My wife, please check on her.She's in the room down at the end of the hall."
Nick left the room and went to the end of the hall. He checked the other rooms as he passed them. The door at the end was open, and he carefully entered, turning on the light as he did so. He saw the room was clear and there was a figure on the bed, not moving. He saw blood soaking the sheets. He holstered his gun and ran to the side of the bed; he saw Sandy lying there. He put his hand to her neck and he felt a faint pulse. He immediately keyed the mic.
"Dispatch, David 9."
"David 9, Dispatch, go ahead."
"Dispatch, we have two gunshot victims at this address. Send another ambulance. Two apparent victims, one a boy about eleven or twelve, the other a woman in her thirties."
"10-4, David 9, they are on the way."
Nick went back to the other bedroom. Jake looked at him.
"Where's my wife? Where's Sandy?"
"It looks like she's been shot as well."
"She's alive, but she was unconscious, and I have asked for more EMS. I'm going to direct the paramedics to her room immediately."
"Okay. Do what you can. I think we're doing okay here. I think I've got the bleeding under control."
Nick nodded and went downstairs. He exited the house as the paramedics rolled up. He gestured and they followed him into the house.
Down the street, the sirens had awakened the Browning house. Tom had pulled on some shorts and moccasin slippers. He opened the door as an ambulance drove by. He followed it with his eyes and saw the flashing lights of a couple of sheriffs' cars, paramedics and a fire truck at the end of the street.
"What's going on, honey?"
"Terry, wait here and keep the boys here, if they get up. I think something happened down at Jake's place. I'm going down to find out what's going on."
Terry nodded with fear in her eyes as Tom ran out the door and down the street. When he got there, he saw several of their neighbors outside, and he saw Jeremy standing near a patrol car with a blanket wrapped around him, struggling against a Sheriff. He ran toward him and yelled his name.
Jeremy looked towards the voice and pulled free of the deputy running toward Tom, just as the paramedics went into the house.
When Jeremy got near him, he raised his arms which caused the blanket to fall partway off of him, showing that he was just in his underwear. Tom gathered the crying boy in his arms, and made sure the blanket stayed wrapped around him. He started trying to console him. The Sheriff Deputy had followed Jeremy.
"Excuse me, sir. You know this boy?"
"Yes, he is the son of my best friend."
"Okay, could I have your name please?"
"Tom Browning. My family and I live just down the street. What the hell happened here?"
"I'm not sure yet. There was report of screams and yells from the house and things breaking. The neighbor who called it in said it sounded like a fight. The other deputy in the house has reported two people have been shot. Have there been any family problems that you know of?"
"No, never. No way, no how. There are no problems like that. Not these guys. What makes you think that?"
"Just getting the information, sir."
"Fair enough, but could you give me a few minutes, please? I have a scared boy here."
"Yes sir, go ahead and take care of him."
The deputy backed off as Tom tried to calm Jeremy down. Jeremy's sobs slowed down and Tom gently held Jeremy away from himself so that he could look at him. He took a corner of the blanket and gently wiped at the blood on Jeremy's face.
"Jeremy, can you tell me what happened?"
"I don't really know, Uncle Tom. I was asleep, and I heard a crash and came out of my room, and saw Dad fighting with some guy in a ski mask. It looked like Trevor was hurt. I went over to help him, something hit me from behind and I got knocked out. When I woke up, the guy was gone and Dad was helping Trevor, and he told me to run outside so that they would know where to go."
"Okay. Let's see if we can find out anything more."
Jeremy nodded and they walked over to the deputy.
Upstairs the paramedics followed Deputy Weston into the master bedroom and immediately hurried to Sandy's side.
"We have one victim in here, and a boy about twelve in the other room."
One of them nodded as he pulled the sheet back and saw that she was lying in a pool of blood. They started to work, hooking her up to an EKG machine and getting oxygen on her. One started an IV while the other got a blood pressure cuff on her. Once they had taken some readings, one of them called it in, while the other went to Trevor's room.
"Station 45 calling Long Beach. Station 45 calling Long Beach."
"This is Long Beach, 45, go ahead."
"We have a gunshot victim, female approximately thirty-five years old. Appears to have two gunshot wounds to the back and side..."
The deputy and the paramedic left the room and went into Trevor's room. They saw Jake holding the cloth over Trevor's wound. The paramedic moved to Jake's side.
"I'll take it from here, sir."
Jake nodded and stepped back. The deputy took his arm and guided him to the side.
"Let him do his work. You've done your part, now let them do theirs. Can you tell me what happened?"
Jake nodded but kept his eyes on Trevor, who was still unconscious.
"I was sitting on the bed with my son earlier and he wanted me to stay for a little while until he fell asleep. I guess I dozed off as well. I woke up because I thought I heard something outside the room. I got off the bed and suddenly the door opened, and there was some guy dressed in black and he had a gun. I charged him and we fought. I know Jeremy came in here at some point and got knocked out sometime during the struggle. During the fight, the guy shot Trevor when he screamed, and he and I fought for some time. I got him to drop the gun... The gun, it's got to be here somewhere. He dropped it during the fight, and I think it was before we went through the glass door; it's got to be in the room here somewhere."
They both started looking for it. Jake found it quickly.
"Here it is, Deputy."
He pointed near Trevor's desk. The deputy grabbed a glove out of his pocket and carefully picked the pistol up, laying it on the desktop, before he turned back to Jake.
"After I got him to drop the gun, I rammed him through the glass door. I started to go after him, but I think he had someone else with him. He got up and ran for the back stairs. Just as I started to get up to follow, I saw some bullets hit the deck railing, so I dove back inside and he got away."
Jake and the deputy went outside and Jake pointed out the bullet holes in the railing. The deputy asked a few more questions while they were outside.
"Well, I guess that's all for now. Why don't you go back in? Just stay out of their way so they can help your son. Someone will be in touch. Sir, are you all right? You have quite a lot of blood on you."
Jake looked down at himself before answering the question.
"No, I'm fine. It's probably my son's from while I was tending him."
The deputy nodded and made a few more notes. They went in and Jake watched as the second set of paramedics who had arrived were taking care of Trevor. He stood to the side and out of the way as he watched. He saw a gurney go by the room with Sandy on it, and he followed them.
"Is she going to be okay?"
"We're doing everything we can for her. We just need to get her to the hospital as soon as possible."
"Is she going to Long Beach?"
He caught up with them as they went outside and stopped them for a moment. He leaned down and kissed her, then backed away. Another crew with a gurney was coming up the walk and headed inside.
He turned and saw Jeremy and Tom and ran over to them as Jeremy ran to him; the blanket trailed behind him. Jeremy leaped into his arms and wrapped them tightly around Jake's neck, crying. Jake soothed him as Tom caught up to them and puts his arm around Jake's shoulder. They watched as the gurney carrying Sandy was put into an ambulance. Tom turned to Jake and was looking him up and down.
"What the fuck happened, man? You're covered in blood; are you okay?"
"Somebody broke into the house. They shot Sandy and Trevor. I drove him off, but they're both hurt."
At about this time the other gurney came out with Trevor on it. Jake carried Jeremy as he hurried over to him.
"How is he doing?"
"I think he'll be okay; we're taking him to Long Beach. They'll fix him up."
"Okay, thanks. Let's get you dressed, bud, so we can go be with mom and your brother."
"Tom, we're going to get dressed, and then could you drive us to the hospital?"
"Sure, I'll go get the Suburban. Terry and the boys are probably going nuts. I'll be back in a few."
Tom ran back to his house. Jake and Jeremy went inside. Jake put him down by his door and Jeremy went in and got dressed. Jake went to his room and shuddered when he saw the blood on the bed. He went into the bathroom and cleaned most of the blood off his chest and arms. He went back into the room and grabbed a shirt before he went to Jeremy's room. They headed out front and were approached by Deputy Weston.
Down the street Tom ran into his house and was assaulted by the family.
"Dad, what happened, is everyone okay? We just saw two ambulances go by."
Tom held his hands up and whistled loudly.
"Now calm down and get dressed. Sandy and Trevor have been shot."
"Try to stay calm. I don't know the details, but I think somebody broke into the house, probably a burglar, and Jake surprised him and drove him off, but I think he shot Sandy and Trevor before he got away."
"Are they all right?"
"I don't know. We're going to take Jake and Jeremy to the hospital, and then we'll find out. Hurry, go and get dressed."
The room emptied quickly as they went to their rooms to get some clothes on. In the boys' room, Zach sat on the bed and closed his eyes, concentrating.
'Trevor. Can you hear me, bud? Answer me! TREVOR!'
"Ouch, dude. Damn, that hurt."
"Sorry, bro. I can't hear him. I can't feel him."
Jared came over and sat beside Zach and held him. Zach leaned into him and his shoulders shook as he cried against Jared. Their dad found them that way and went to his son. He took him in his arms and tried to soothe him. He calmed down a little.
"Come on, son, they need us. Get dressed."
Zach nodded, got up and he and Jared quickly got dressed and followed their dad outside to the Suburban. Tom backed out and drove down to Jake's, where they saw him and Jeremy talking to a deputy. When Tom pulled up, Jake shook the deputy's hand and they trotted over to the Suburban, opening the back and getting in. Jeremy and Jared got into the back seat, while Jake sat next to Zach. As soon as they got in, Zach crawled into Jake's lap and both of them started crying. Jeremy was holding tight to Jared in the back and was crying as well. They took off as fast as they could, making it to the hospital in about ten minutes. Tom pulled into the parking lot and they all got out as fast as they could and ran to the emergency room entrance and up to the desk. There were several people in the waiting room.
"Can I help you?"
"I'm Jake MacLaren; my son and my wife were brought in here with gunshot wounds."
"Let me check. What are their names?"
"Last name MacLaren."
He typed on the computer keyboard and studied the monitor and then looked up at their anxious faces.
"Yes, I have found them; they are here. Why do..."
He noticed Jeremy's cut on the forehead and the bruise and knot that was forming. He pointed at Jeremy's head.
"I think we should have that looked at as well. Just a moment, please."
He entered some more information into the computer and then got up, motioning for Jake and Jeremy to follow him. Jake turned to the others.
"I'll let you know as soon as I can what is going on."
"Okay, hang in there."
Tom hugged Jake as Jared did the same with Jeremy. Zach looked scared as Tom guided him over to some chairs in the room. They followed the guy from the desk to the back area. They were walked through the Emergency Department to a room near the trauma room. Jeremy was asked to get up on the bed. A nurse came in and took his vitals and looked at the cut. She made some notes.
"The doctor will be here in a moment to look at that cut."
"Nurse, my wife and son are in the Trauma room; can you tell me how they're doing?"
"I'm sorry, I don't know, but I'll see if I can find anything out. They're kind of busy in there right now."
"I understand, but anything you can find out would be good."
"Okay, I'll let you know, or the doctor will."
Jake got up and looked just down the hall to where the trauma room was located. There were several people in lab coats standing near the partially opened door. He could see a bit into the room and there were several people in scrubs and white coats moving around inside. From his vantage point he could see the end of a gurney. Outside the room were the paramedics and a couple of sheriff's deputies. He went back into the room to be with Jeremy. Taking his hand, he smiled and tried to comfort him.
"Are they going to be okay?"
"I don't know. I hope so. We have to be strong for them, at least as best as we can. Okay?"
He gripped Jake's hand tighter as they sat there in silence waiting for word of their condition.