Copyright © 2012 - 2014 by Joe Writerman and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved
Breckenridge, Texas, Jordan's Viewpoint
As usual, I awakened early, long before Luke usually stirred. I knew it was early, despite having been up late last night. The sun wasn't even shining through the cubbyhole type window in the laundry room which shined into the bedroom area.
I snaked my hand down, gave his fully resting flesh a couple of meaningful squeezes, then worked my way out of bed, being as quiet and careful as I possibly could, not wanting to wake him. I stumbled into the laundry room to turn on the light, rested against the door frame, and looked at our bed to see an angel peacefully sleeping in it. I loved to watch him sleep. In times past, I'd dream that we'd made it to our destination – Las Vegas, or wherever else our feet took us, and were living free - together. Recently, though, we've been replacing those plans with ideas that we'd hopefully just settle down somewhere. Our time with the Finnegans, knowing that we were accepted and respected, made me hungry for a family, somewhere, on a permanent basis, where I could lay my head down at night with Luke lying by my side after making love with him, without reprisal, hate, or rejection.
When I first saw Dalton's injury yesterday, I cried my eyes out in the motorhome where Luke and I had escaped to. I know it sounds selfish, it keeps going round and round through my brain, but I'm glad we were circumcised. At the same time, my heart breaks, knowing that Luke and I really hadn't experienced jack shit… what I mean is that Eric, especially Eric, went through so much, yet came out of it seemingly okay, considering what had been done to him.
I worry so much about Lawrence.
He's living in a prison, although I saw a whole different side of Lawrence the moment Aaron and Dalton were spotted and rescued. I saw just how much he loved Aaron. He'd only talked about him, but everything changed when we saw him WITH Aaron.
Lawrence and Aaron had gone to bed very early. They were so tired from the emotional ordeal they'd gone through. That and the fact that Aaron had been awake, other than for being nearly comatose for several hours, perhaps even for a few days.
It was obvious to see that Dalton clearly adored the ground that Aaron walked on, and was a bit disappointed when his hero didn't invite him to stay in the room he would share with Lawrence. We took him aside and explained, the best we knew how, that Aaron and Lawrence needed to spend time alone to get reacquainted and to find what they once had before their ordeal became their whole world.
Luke and I had offered our bed so that Lawrence and Aaron could sleep alone with all the amenities the basement had to offer, but they gave in to Michael's offer of giving them his room. Aaron, having been through so much, was weak and tired, so staying upstairs just made sense. Michael and Eric, Jared, Stephen, Matthew, and Dalton, with John's approval, were going to spend the night out in the coach to 'break it in'.
Dog took to Luke and me, as she had done before. She wouldn't let us out of her sight. When we took our shower, she lay in the doorway observing our activities. It was almost like she was trying to make up time for not being with us when she really thought we needed her. Once we'd left Katy's place, despite a few harrowing moments, we'd been okay. Well, not really okay, but okay enough to say okay.
Dog came to me and nuzzled her freezing cold nose deep into my crotch, which sent waves of shock through my system. I pushed her away. She looked at me like she'd lost her last friend. Feeling sorry for her, I said, snickering, "That belongs to Luke." I swear to God she smiled.
I sat down on the cold concrete floor. She straddled my legs and made herself comfortable. I leant down, rubbed my face in her thick coat, kissed her nose and scratched the underneath side of her muzzle. That earned me a thorough face licking. Satisfied with her 'good morning' to me, she went back to her place by our bed, snuggled down into an old blanket, sighed, laid her head down and closed her eyes.
I went into the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth – yuck, dog slobber. Finished, I put on a pair of sweat shorts forgoing underwear, then went upstairs for a glass of milk and to see if anyone was awake. The house was quiet, although the master bathroom light was on casting shadows in that part of their home. Curious about who may be up, I took a little trip to where the light shone. Nobody was in there. Michael and Eric's door, immediately across the hall from the restroom, was wide open.
Their covers were strewn onto the floor. Lawrence's bare backside greeted my sight. Aaron was snuggled up against him. I entered the threshold to see if they were awake. There was no response to my entering the room they were sharing. I picked up the covers and spread them over their bare forms, then quietly stole out, turned off the bathroom light and went into the kitchen to get a glass of milk to drink.
I very nearly dropped the glass to the floor when Lawrence said from behind me while I was taking a large gulp, "Good morning. Did you need something?"
Quickly, I turned around to see Lawrence standing in the threshold of the kitchen wearing only tight brief underwear. I swallowed hard to keep from choking. That only made things worse. Within nanoseconds I'd spit the mouthful of milk onto the floor, coughed and sputtered and nearly panicked at not being able to breathe. Lawrence walked over and began slapping my bare back with his open hand. I don't know if that helped or not, but I soon started breathing again.
When he saw that I was okay under the circumstances, he grabbed a kitchen towel and wiped up the mess on the floor while I found a Kleenex to wipe my face and blow my nose.
Lawrence apologized profusely, saying he was sorry that I was startled by his silent entrance. I patted his back. Arm in arm, we walked to the kitchen table and sat down. I asked, "So… how are you guys? Are you two okay?"
My friend nodded affirmatively. After a moment of contemplation, he offered, "We talked for most of the night. What happened while we were in captivity was not discussed; we both know what happened. He told me about their escape, though. He's more concerned about what happened to the other kids. Aaron's always watched out for others. He's really down on himself for not taking care of those little kids. I told him that you, Luke and I did pretty much the same thing with Eric."
"Yeah. I was scared shitless. We all were. The only thing on our minds was getting out of there. Eric's forgiven us."
Lawrence's gaze shifted to a small breadcrumb resting on the table. He wet his finger then dabbed at the object and put it in his mouth. He was about to say something but yawned then sneezed four times in rapid succession. I pushed a Kleenex box to within reach. After blowing his nose and tossing the used tissue into the trash can, he sat back down, looked deeply into my eyes and said, "Thanks. You and Luke have opened my eyes. I've been forced to think for myself and to do things I never thought possible."
He yawned once again, then another one took over his whole being. His eyes were bloodshot. I leant toward him, and touched my lips to his. "Go to bed with your sweetie. I'm going back downstairs. We'll talk more later on."
With that said, we arose from our chairs, joined for a deep hug and touched lips once more. Lawrence said, "Aaron's afraid of the dark. That's why the bathroom light was on. Okay, I'm off to bed. Maybe I can fall asleep now. Aaron fell asleep a little over an hour ago. Thanks. Thanks for being my friend."
He touched my lips once again, then took off. I noticed that he was walking a lot lighter. Just before entering the room he and Aaron were sleeping in, he turned to face me. He nodded then walked inside disappearing from my sight. I sighed contentedly. Their being together was a big weight off my shoulders.
Downstairs I shed the last remaining threads separating me from the outside world, crawled into bed and got under the sheet and comforter, moved around so that I was spooned into Luke's back and placed my happy and needy little friend within the darkness of his natural valley.
Luke awakened. Without saying a word, he leant over, retrieved something from the nightstand table, and pulled away for a moment. He then raised his legs high into the air… sending me messages that, in no uncertain terms, told me no further invitation was needed.
After entry, he took my hips and held me tight. We savored our moment for a couple of minutes before need needed satisfaction. We found a rhythmical cadence that was sending us to that far away galaxy…
Ring… the phone bellowed. Ring. Ring. Ring.
"Shit. Shit. Shit." I said, suddenly angry at our time alone being interrupted. I extracted that which designates me male, ran into the bathroom, grabbed the phone resting on the vanity and frustratingly answered, "Hello."
"Hey Jordan. Good morning to you." Dale's voice said, happily, much happier than I felt at that moment, but I responded back, "Hey Dale. Good morning to you, too. What's up?" I tried to take the irritation out of my voice because, after all, it was good to hear from him.
Luke entered. He grabbed a washcloth from the vanity, wet it, soaped it and applied it to a certain anatomical area on his body.
"Can't I just call and say hey?" Dale chuckled.
"Oh sure. No problem."
"Did I wake you guys up? You sound a little sleepy?"
How do you tell a man that he'd interrupted a private experience to the extreme?
The only answer I came up with: You don't.
I grinned, "No, we've been up for a while."
Luke smacked the back of my head. He applied the soapy washcloth to my loins.
I pressed the Speaker button. Luke chuckled when I firmly squeezed his hand. He mouthed, "Remember where we left off." I nodded appreciatively.
"Actually, I called to find out what you two know about the upcoming trip."
"Not very much. John said that we're going to visit his brother in Wichita, Kansas. We're leaving tomorrow morning."
Luke said while looking deeply into my eyes and gently but decisively and purposefully squeezing and releasing my member, "Oh, do you know, have you heard that we found Lawrence's boyfriend Aaron and another kid? They were down by the river, almost frozen to death?"
"No, I hadn't heard. Are they okay?"
"They spent a few hours in the Emergency Room to get warmed up, but yeah they seem to be doing okay."
I offered, "Dalton is the other guy's name. He's nice."
Dale exhaled a breath of air, "Were they… hurt?"
"Yeah. At least Dalton was. It was terrible, Dale. They cut his penis…"
Luke continued, "John fixed the cut."
"They're sleeping out in the motorhome. We ran out of room inside the house."
We talked about a few other things. Dale said that he'd call John a little later, and reassured us that things were going to work out, and that finding Aaron was really, really good for Lawrence, and for the rest of us as well.
He then dropped a bombshell, "Boys, I've taken a real job. I start on Monday. It's off the road in a plant where my son Jeremy works. It'll be steady and I'll be home almost every night. We're excited. It'll be way different for me, but I think it will take exactly five minutes to get used to being in my own bed at night."
Luke piped up, "That sounds good. It'll all work out."
"You guys could visit at any time; you do know that, right?"
"Kewl." I replied while looking into Luke's eyes. He released my member, which was a good thing as I was on the verge of losing control - not that I wanted to stop, but…
"I'd like that… I mean if it would work out for you." Luke challenged.
"I hope you guys know that you're welcome here. In fact, we need to talk… but we need to be together… I've been thinking… are you guys happy there?"
"Oh yeah." I replied, readily. Luke nodded.
Luke added, "We're just a part of the family here… it reminds me a little of how things were when I was a kid, before my parents started arguing and stuff."
I put my arm around Luke's shoulders as he remembered what it had once been for him. I hadn't experienced a real family, but I'd listened to Luke tell about what his family had been like in the past.
Resignedly, Dale replied, "I hope we can see each other pretty soon. We didn't spend a whole lot of time together, but you are two of the good guys. I like good guys. Anyway, I'd appreciate your company."
"Sold. We'd like to see you as well. If we're in Wichita, maybe John could take us there someday."
"Or I could come see you." Dale replied, his voice contented.
"That would work. Thanks." Luke said.
I added while looking into Luke's eyes, gauging what I was about to say to Dale, "Uhmm, Dale, you know, well, when I talk to you – I can relax. I love these people but there is always something going on… I just wanted to say that. I'm sorry if it comes off wrong. Don't get me wrong; we're happy here."
"Thank you. I feel the same way. Okay, need to go for now. I'll be in touch real soon. Just roll with the flow, keep an open mind; good things are coming your way." Dale said softly, reassuringly.
Luke took hold of my hand and led us back to bed. He jumped in and spread his legs open wide and hungrily looked into my eyes. I grabbed the bottle of stuff off the floor, got into bed… and, well, we weren't interrupted…
Bradley returned just as I clicked off the call with Jordan and Luke. He said, "I finished the job application. Jeremy looked it over, then we took it to the receptionist who was going to enter the information into the computer system."
I got up from the desk, walked to him, pulled my son into my chest and squeezed firmly, saying, "Boys, some things are about to change very rapidly. In fact… before I get into it, so that I only have to say it one time, we all need to talk. You, Rachel, Carl, Robbie, Melissa, her folks - all of us - we need to talk."
Jeremy looked into my eyes. In them I saw unasked and unanswered questions, but before he could voice them, a knock on Peter's door interrupted our conversation. Bradley went to the door and opened it. Peter entered. He looked into my eyes inquiringly. I said, "I haven't talked to everyone yet. I'm a 'go', but everything depends on what everyone wants or is willing to do."
Although I was still sizing up Peter, Jeremy urged me to sit next to him in chairs in front of Peter's desk. Peter took the cue and sat behind his desk, then leant forward to hear what we had to say.
Breaking the silence, I said, "We're going to have a family meeting. First, though, I need to speak with my friends to see how they react… we've got some pretty firm plans already in place. Meanwhile, I need to get my truck out of the shop. I'm planning to grab a load. It's going to be a supply run to keep us going for a few weeks, until all of the crap gets straightened out… I just can't see Ashwood giving up. I cannot let him get to Lawrence, I just can't. The child has a story to tell. I can't believe any sane individual would do to him what has already been done."
"I can mobilize my contacts… within an hour… you said that John is a physician?"
"Yes, Sir, a surgeon."
"He could come in handy. You're correct about Ashwood not giving up… he's got too much at stake… I am sure that he will want to shut Lawrence down just as fast as he can. This puts Lawrence and everybody connected with him – in danger."
"I know. Okay, let me talk to my people. I'd like for you to be part of the discussions."
Wayne awakened me by crawling into my bed and cuddling into my back. I squirmed away, just enough to keep his morning 'significance' off my skin. He thought that was funny. I turned over to face him and put his arm across my back and pulled his head into my neck, and said very clearly, "We don't have to discuss that again, correct?"
I kissed his temple and added, "You're not in any trouble. It's just not appropriate for us to touch like that… no big deal; we'll get over it."
He squeezed me very hard, then got up and returned to his room. I heard the shower turn on. I was awake. There was no use in trying to go back to sleep. Knowing that he would not get a towel, I got up, walked into his bathroom and retrieved one from the linen cabinet, hung it on the shower door rack, then quickly exited after seeing that he was taking care of his morning matters while singing an unfamiliar rap song. I giggled, had to. I left his room when his voice went way, way up there to take on a high note which he does very well. His care coordinator has suggested that he take singing lessons in the next semester. He's excited about doing it.
About fifteen minutes later, he called out to say that he was ready for me to wash his hair and back. I do them both at the same time as his hair is very short and tight. He purrs like a kitten. I'd given up on his taking care of this, so, to keep the peace in the house, I just do it. Sometimes he brings up something serious to talk about; this morning he just purred contentedly.
I had concerns about him being around so many boys in tight quarters. He is quite open and vocal about his sexuality, at times. During the summer he has the pool guy to play around with. The boy, Darrin, is seventeen years old, so there's no legal issue to contend with. They get along well. Their relationship is not entirely sexual. Darrin has got Wayne into playing video games, which is significantly helping his eye-hand coordination.
"Okay, all done." I said, then smacked his wet bare butt cheek and made my exit with him hollering that I murdered him… he was laughing and at the same time, swearing revenge. We go through this every morning.
I went to the kitchen intent upon feeding him a cold breakfast of cereal with about half of a banana sliced into sections to top it off. I was just getting the milk out when he appeared - undressed, not ready for school, or for breakfast for that matter. The rule is 'clothing shall be worn at the table'. I pointed toward his room, but didn't say anything. He grinned, turned around and headed for his abode to get dressed for the day.
Ten minutes later, when he didn't return, I walked to his room only to see him standing still, motionless, in his own little world away from everyone. "Wayne, are you with me?" I asked softly, walking to him. I put my hand on his lower back and urged him to sit down on his unmade bed. "Wayne, it's time to get up to get ready for school. Breakfast is ready."
When he didn't respond in a minute or two, I laid him down in bed, pulled the covers up to his neck, leant down to kiss his forehead, then repeated my words after he'd closed his eyes and drifted off.
Another ten minutes passed. His breathing, regular, rhythmical, deep, and eye movement indicated he was sleeping. I sat down on the edge of his bed, then awakened him as though this time was no different than any other awakening to face another day. He smacked his lips a few times, then, while yawning, said, "Okay, I'm awake. Will you wash my back for me, please?"
"I can do that." I said, while leaning down to kiss his cheek, and to receive his good morning hug.
Concerned about him, I lowered the covers, gave him my hand which he took, jumped out of bed, and went into his restroom. Worried, I followed him. When he sat down on the toilet and expelled gas, I went into his room and made his bed while he took care of his morning ritual.
When he flushed the toilet, which he usually forgets to do, he asked, "Adam, why is my shower wet?" He appeared and looked deeply into my eyes. He reached out for my arms… he was afraid that 'it' had happened again.
Wayne has seizures like that… he doesn't remember anything. To date, he's not had the muscle contractions like most epileptics experience.
I held him close, rubbed his back. Softly, I said, "You had a blank-out for about thirty minutes. Are you with me now?"
He looked into my eyes. He was 'home again', but he was afraid. The boy asked, sadly, just barely above a whisper, "Am I going to get well?"
"Let's just take care of today. So far so good." I said, squeezing him tight, then releasing him to do what he would probably do okay, now that he was back with the world we live in.
We took off in the Porsche to take him to the center. I went inside and asked to see his physician, Doctor Lori Webster, a neurologist with a specialty in rehabilitative medicine. We were really fortunate to get her. She's conscientious, very personable and pleasant to be around. Wayne likes her a lot… they melded right off at the beginning. She and Wayne hugged, then the boy went with his chief therapist to start their day of rehab activities.
"He's a good kid.", Doctor Webster, or Lori, as she prefers to be called, said fondly. "Are there any problems at home?"
"As a matter of fact, Wayne had a seizure this morning that lasted thirty to forty minutes. He was lost in his own world during that time, but he came out of it. He experienced no further troubles after I put him back to bed. He awakened just fine, then we got on with our morning."
"That's not all that unusual for patients who have had similar injuries. We'll keep a closer eye on him. Mr. Wright, I would like to speak with you in private. Do you have the time?"
"Yes. I have a couple of hours before I need to do some work. And, please call me Adam."
When we were in her office behind closed doors, she sat down at her desk, looked into my eyes, then shocked me by saying, "Adam, I'm glad we had this opportunity to talk. I was going to call you this morning to speak to you about an issue at our facility yesterday late afternoon. I'm sorry I was unavailable to speak with you yesterday."
"Oh, what's that? Please speak freely."
"Okay. I want you to know that we contributed to the issue by not supervising two of our clients, one of them was Wayne, as good as we normally do. We were short-staffed… our male nurse coordinator was on the floor working as Wayne's therapist. Wayne took a bathroom break between mixed martial art practice sessions, as did another boy Wayne's age. They were found to be completely undressed and sexually involved. Wayne was penetrated by the other boy. At first glance, their interaction appeared consensual… but… this is behavior that cannot and will not be tolerated on so many levels. I examined both boys. My examination revealed no injuries to either one of them. At this time, we will keep them apart other than meal time, and they will not be permitted to interact with one another, alone, without supervision. We were required to file a police report for legal purposes, should you or the other boy's parents decide to take this matter to court, which you have every right to do. We were negligent. On behalf of our center, I apologize this has happened."
"I can assure you no lawsuit will be filed. Honest mistakes happen. I must admit that Wayne does not have much of a social life outside of this facility. We go shopping, to parks when the weather is cooperative, out to dinner at least once or twice a week, and whenever possible I involve him, on a social level, in my business - which is photography. Many of my clients, which consist mostly of school districts and a few private clients, always welcome him; however he doesn't usually mingle with the subjects. I can honestly say that Wayne does not just sit around the house day in and day out."
"Actually, Adam, we have no behavioral issues with Wayne. The other boy is not aggressive, and he's not passive either. Other than for their neurological deficits, they seem like normal everyday kids. As you know, we have taken, and will continue to take them, on field trips off-campus. In a controlled atmosphere, their social lives are taken into account. We try to expose them to as much as humanly possible. You are doing everything correctly, so, please do not think you are not doing enough. If you are agreeable, with my assurance that they will always have careful supervision, I do not believe any harm was done to Wayne, or to the other boy. Both are adolescent boys. We will be working with them to express their normal everyday sexuality in private, but not at all at our center."
"That sounds fine. I know that Wayne is very active. For the most part he is boundary-appropriate, but not always. I get onto him whenever those boundaries are violated. I will speak with him."
Inwardly, I had concerns about sleeping arrangements once we had everyone together. I hadn't voiced the concerns simply because Wayne is voluntarily participatory rather than being the aggressor.
"I, personally, have no issue, Lori. He's done so well here. He looks forward to coming, even when he's having an off day, which, by the way, are becoming fewer and fewer as we go along. If you need for me to sign a release, I will do so. One question, and it is probably something you have already addressed - have tests been performed for … STDs?"
"Yes. The appropriate samples have been taken and are being analyzed. The results should be in by Friday afternoon."
"Good. That's the only question that I have. Now, it's been answered. Thank you."
As I walked to the Porsche, after seeing Wayne working through some of his exercises and disciplines, I smiled knowing that their care was world-class, just as Doctor Mauer had said it would be.
My cell phone rang just as I got into the car.
"Hello." I replied, without looking at caller id.
"Hi Adam. This is Dale Wilson. Do you have a few minutes to talk?"
"Sure do. What's up?"
"Let me put John on the phone."
I had stayed awake most of the night, listening to Lawrence and Aaron talking. Sometimes they laughed. Sometimes they cried so hard that I almost got up and went to them, and would have had they not recovered fairly quickly. I knew that they had a lot of issues to work through on their own. And, I knew that all of the boys needed professional counseling to get into things that they probably would not feel comfortable speaking with me about due to our being so close to one another.
I was just about to turn over and try to get a few more winks before getting up to start the day when I felt the bed wiggle just enough to tell me a 'silent one' was about to pounce me, probably Matthew or Stephen. Instead of attacking me, two boys, and from their aroma I could tell that both Matthew and Stephen had arrived. Each boy snuggled on either side of my side and chest. I put an arm around each of them and snuggled them onto my chest, kissed the tops of their heads, and said, "Hey guys. Good morning."
Both boys wiggled up and planted wet kisses on my cheeks, then settled in and held me tight. Stephen was shaking somewhat, then I remembered the boys had slept out in the coach, and that they'd walked the length of the sidewalk to get into the house, so they were probably cold, I thought. I snuggled them in close so that they would receive my body heat.
Matthew was soon asleep, breathing deep, regular, rhythmical breaths onto my chest. Stephen, meanwhile, fidgeted until I rearranged how I was lying so that we could clearly talk just loud enough to be heard, but not loud enough to wake up the munchkin. I asked, "Something up there, Spider Kid?"
He giggled, then got very quiet. My son, Stephen, never had a problem talking with me about anything, so I didn't have to wait very long for him to say, "Dad, I'm scared. Hold me tighter, please."
I did just that. "Is that better?"
"Uhmm hmm. Daddy?"
"Mikey scared me tonight… he was making loud gurgling noises. He was wiggling like he was hurting very, very, very bad. I'm worried. Is he going to die?" My son asked while snaking his arms up so that he could softly cry into my neck.
I promised to myself to have a 'talk' with Michael and Eric about using discretion when in the company of the younger boys. Michael, last night, appeared to be just fine, as did Eric. I could very well understand how my boy could be upset, but what are the right words to say… More often than not, I tend to answer the boys' questions with questions to get them thinking. This, though, was not one of those times. From Stephen's reaction, he had no experience to draw upon to think this situation out in a way that he could understand. "Stephen, I'm pretty sure your brother is just fine. Do you know if Eric was making the same noises and wiggling around, too?"
"Kind of. Is he dying? I love him, Daddy. But, I love Mikey more."
"I understand where you're coming from." I grinned wickedly, knowing he couldn't see that I was up to something. Continuing, "Have you talked to your brother and Eric about how you are worried about them?"
"No. It just happened last night. They fell asleep before I could ask." Stephen replied, shrugging his shoulders. Then he touched my lips with his, bound out of bed and took off… but before he got very far, I said, "Come here. I need to tell you something."
"But, Dad, I've got to ask them. They might be hurting…"
"Come here, Little One. We need to talk some more." I said, parentally. I heard a belt buckle hit the floor with a thud, clothes scattered about within a five foot radius of where he was standing, and then he joined me and cuddled back into my side. Settled and breathing into my chest, I continued, "Stephen, you already know that Michael and Eric love each other - very much." His head nodded affirmatively. "Okay, I thought so. They've found how their bodies can make each other feel very, very, very good. Sometimes when our bodies feel so very good, we make noises to let the other person know that they're making us happy. Probably what you heard is their…"
"Happy happy happy! Something like that, Dad?"
"Perfect. Now, I need to tell you something else… let me talk to them first before you bring it up to your brother. I need to talk to him like you and I are talking right now…"
"Daddy, can I sleep with you like we did a long time ago? I know I'm not a baby anymore, but ..."
My reply was silent; I kissed his temple and urged his head to lie on my chest. I rubbed his back up and down his spine. He relaxed. Soon he lay limp in my arms as sleep had overtaken him. I just hoped his dreams were as pleasant as my conscious state, which, soon, turned into a restful, relaxing experience, so much so that I dozed off into a deep, deep sleep.
I don't know how long I had been asleep within the cocoon of my boys, when the house phone rang incessantly, immediately waking us up. Stephen clambered up and over me to get to the phone sitting on the opposite-side night stand, "Hello."
"Yes, Sir. Just a moment, please. Dad, a man wants to talk to you. I've got to pee, can I use your bathroom, pleaseeeeeeeeee?"
"Yes." My son was off me and out of bed, as was Matthew, in a New York second. "Hello, this is Doctor Finnegan."
"John, this is Dale. We need to speak. I've got Adam on the line."
"Hi Adam." I said.
The boys soon returned after performing their morning ritual, kissed my cheeks, then were out the door, going across the hall to Lawrence and Aaron's room…
We decided to talk again at 3:00pm, following our family meetings.
I got out of bed, went into the restroom to take care of personal matters, jumped in and took a quick shower, then got dressed in casual clothes, and walked into the kitchen to get coffee started. The house was quiet.
Well… not so quiet… I opened the basement door to go downstairs; however, stopped at hearing Luke and Jordan mumbling incoherently to one another. Obviously they were enjoying their not-so-quiet time alone together. I smiled while softly closing the door to their lair.
Then I heard Stephen and Matthew screaming bloody murder, in their not-so-innocent voices. Lawrence's voice was heard grousing at having had their blankets torn off the bed. I had to snicker, loudly I will add, at knowing Aaron was being fully indoctrinated into the orneriness of the household. Boys! I started toward the bedroom to put a stop to the rowdy playing around knowing Michael's trophies and other prized belongings were sitting on his dresser, but I had no room to worry as all four boys came running out of the room, with Lawrence and Aaron leading the pack into the restroom. I told the instigators to leave the older youngsters alone while they tended to their business. The little ones headed off to Matthew's room, much more quiet and subdued.
I scratched my head. On one hand, as I'd told Lawrence, he wasn't yet ready, physically, to be made love to. On the other hand, his injuries, checked a week ago, were no longer a threat to his life as they once were. My concern for them was to work into a physical relationship, if that is what they both decided to do. After thinking about their situation for about thirty seconds, I decided to keep quiet, let them make their own decisions, and would offer them support should they ask.
I heard the kitchen door, leading in from the outside, open. Muffled voices announced the arrival of Eric and Michael, then they appeared. Michael said, scurrying into the hallway, "Be right back, Dad. Gotta pee." Eric did stop to give me a sideways hug, then he too followed his boyfriend, my son. I thought about telling them that Lawrence and Aaron were in there, but then they opened the bathroom door and entered. They would work it out.
As I made my way into the kitchen, Jared and Dalton next came through the door. Jared gave me a quick hug as Dalton walked by, headed to the communal restroom already filled with boys. I smiled when Jared released me and took off to join his brothers and friends. "Jared." I said, before he disappeared into the throng.
"I'm going to get breakfast going… How about you get the troops to taking their showers. We're going to go to Fort Worth for clothes, groceries, and whatever else we need."
He nodded, then took off and disappeared into the restroom.
I smiled, knowing that the investment of purchasing and having installed a special water heating system was more than paying for itself so the boys could all have hot showers.
With that thought in mind, knowing I was a very lucky man, I turned to the kitchen and began breakfast preparations.
Woodward, Oklahoma, Dale's Viewpoint
Adam, John and I were on the same page. We agreed to reconvene at 3:00pm.
I'd been thinking of taking Bradley on a little unscheduled trip. I knew he would be more than happy about getting his license. Why his mother didn't take him to the licensing station made no sense to me. A lot of things didn't make sense. Other things did meet with reason. If he could get a job at the plant, then he would be held accountable for taxes, insurance and upkeep to the best of his ability. He acted a lot more responsible than his mother had given him credit for, in my opinion.
When I turned into the state license bureau building, my boy looked at me with keen interest in his eyes. I just smiled, parked, set the brake and got out, and said through the open door, "We have business to take care of, come on, don't drag your butt."
We walked inside the building, went to the customer service window, and stated our business. I walked to a chair in the waiting room and sat down, knowing that getting his license was his business at this point.
He returned a couple of minutes later carrying a booklet in his hands. He sat down. It was a study guide for the written test. Twenty minutes later he walked back to the receptionist, or whatever her job title happened to be. She took him to a back room, probably to check his vision and get the written examination completed.
Another twenty minutes passed before he returned, holding out his hand, "I need the keys, Dad. I passed the written test with a ninety-percent."
I handed him the keys.
Thirty minutes later, with a temporary license in his wallet, we took off, with him driving, to the repair shop to get the truck and be on our way home to meet with the family so that decisions could be made on what we did next.
As we passed by the Woodward Tourism and Convention Bureau, Bradley said, "Dad, isn't that Katy's truck? What's she doing here?"
I craned my neck to look back but we'd already passed the building. I said, "Take a left turn on 9th street; we'll circle back. I don't know, Son."
We went on up to Texas Avenue then headed west on Texas to 10th street where Bradley took a left. I said, "Pull over on the right." I unbuckled my seatbelt, fished out my cell phone, handed it to Bradley, "Call 911 if things go south."
My son pulled over, put the vehicle in Park, then looked into my eyes, "Be careful, Dad. She's crazy."
I patted his shoulder and got out, and closed the door behind me. I took off down the sidewalk on the passenger side of the rig, a double load. A passing thought went through my head, 'how did she get that thing through the residential streets?' I also saw that the trailers did not have their doors locked and tagged.
As I passed the plane of the truck's second trailer, I saw that a kid was looking into the right rear view mirror. Whether he noticed me or not made no difference – I saw him and that's all that mattered. The hairs on the back of my neck stood straight out; I felt them pushing against my shirt collar. I changed tactics.
I walked back to the car and opened the door, but didn't get in. "Son, she has a kid with her. He's got black or dark brown hair, skinny, and has a dark complexion. Give me five minutes then I want you to walk down the sidewalk like you're heading to Oklahoma Avenue. Walk very slowly by the passenger side of the rig. Try to get the kid's attention and get him out of the truck. Then run. Don't stop. I'll meet you at the funeral home."
"What are you going to do? We can't just kidnap him, can we?"
"No, but I can make damn sure that he's safe. With her history, she's up to no good. Oh yeah, look like a typical teenager talking on the phone. Call Jeremy. Tell him where we are and what we're doing."
I closed the door then headed to the driver's side, walking almost in the middle of the street, all the while paying attention to movement in the driver's seat. I didn't have to wait long. The driver's door opened. I stepped behind the second trailer and looked around the corner to see what happened next. I heard Bradley's voice behind me. I looked at the sidewalk. He looked at me and kept on going. When he was clear of the truck's nose, I returned to watching the driver's side. Katy was making her way down the stairs, and not doing a very good job of it. She slipped off of the second step from the bottom, then landed on her butt. I had a hard time keeping my composure, but managed to do so. That presented a good opportunity to make the confrontation.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here? What's up, Katy?" I said, walking alongside the trailers.
"What are you up to, you old fucker?" Katy asked, nervously.
"Actually, the question is – what are you doing here? You have no business in Woodward."
"Would you give me a hand so that I can get up and off my ass?"
"No, Katy, I can't. I hurt my back…"
"Are you okay?"
"Well, I'll be okay once I know why you are here."
"I picked up a load, if you have to know." Katy groaned, getting herself up off of the pavement. She used a brace designed to support the large fuel tank on the driver's side to hoist herself up to a standing position.
"Ah, I see. It wouldn't be a precious cargo load, would it?" I asked with sarcasm dripping from my mouth. I couldn't help it. It just came out. I calmed down, but didn't say anything to negate the comment and tone of voice.
Katy glared, but before she could say anything, I jumped in, saying, "Or… are the loads to replenish a compound of hooligans who abuse and molest little kids?"
"Fuck you. You have no idea how hard my life has been over the past few weeks. If you did, you'd keep your fucking mouth shut."
"Oh, I can just imagine. I really can just imagine how hard that Phillips asshole has made your life. Poor baby."
With my eyes never leaving hers, I walked to the front of the rig, always taking care of making sure her line of sight remained on me. When I got there, I did a quick glance down the street toward the corner, to see where Bradley was. He was down at the corner. He turned to walk back up the hill toward the rig. I took hold of the door, and in the process raised my thumb. Hopefully he saw that I was telling him now was the time to get the kids' attention to get him out of there.
My comment infuriated her. She slammed the driver's side door closed and took off across the street toward the convention center, leaving me standing there – grinning. I'd gotten to her, and she knew it, but she didn't know what I was really up to. When she disappeared into the building, I opened the door and climbed up. The passenger side door was wide open. I got inside and looked back in the sleeper section to see if the kid was there. He wasn't.
I made my way across the console into the passenger seat, then went down the ladder with great difficulty, the pain was intense. Pushing that aside, I half-walked, half-ran to the vehicle to see if Bradley had done what I had said to do. Neither child was in the car. I got in, shifted into gear, and took off. At the corner I turned west. I pulled into the funeral home parking lot. The boys were nowhere to be seen. I drove around back to see if they were there. They weren't. Then I saw movement from behind the dumpster. I drove right to it, set the brake, got out and quietly made my way to where I'd seen movement.
Bradley was standing up next to the dumpster with the kid behind him. My son sighed a breath of relief at seeing me standing there. He stepped away, then put his hands on the shoulders of a boy who appeared to be right around thirteen or fourteen years old.
What shocked me beyond belief, however, was the fact that he was a spitting image of Jeremy when he was younger. He had the Wilson long thin neck, high arching eyebrows, ears and prominent clavicles. Beneath the well-worn t-shirt, his pectorals were prominent, though not overly so as one would see in a body builder.
His tummy was flat. The t-shirt was neatly tucked into his well-worn jeans. His legs were well-developed, muscular. And, he had large feet tucked away inside of very worn tennis shoes.
I had to tear myself away. I looked into his eyes to see that he was looking into Bradley's eyes. Then he would look at me, then back at Bradley. His eyes, I'd know them anywhere, were spitting images of Katy's.
I swallowed a wad of bile bilge, remembering, thinking back to a time fifteen years ago. Regina and I had had a fight on our hands. We just about, despite our love for one another, divorced and separated our lives. Regina had changed. I didn't know why. And it hurt.
Distraught, upset, and plain pissed, I turned to the only other person that I trusted with all of my being. Our being together lasted but two nights in a hotel room in Laramie, Wyoming. I came to my senses, caught a load home.
Regina, while very upset, understood. She never held my indiscretion over my head; in fact our marriage strengthened tenfold. Then, with Jeremy in college and seriously dating Rachel, Regina sent Bradley off to be with her parents in Ardmore.
It was when they were both gone that I met Mr. Phillips for the first and only time. Immediately upon meeting him, I sensed evil emanating from each and every pore of his body. Though neither directly addressed my indiscretion, the inference was there, present, and unending.
My mind was going ninety to nothing as I stood there in front of Bradley and the boy. No, it couldn't be. She would have told me. She would have. I swallowed hard, opened my mouth to say hello, but nothing came out.
I turned to Bradley. Concern and worry was written all over his face. His tongue, when he's deep in thought, rested on his bottom lip.
Finally, able to think clearer, knowing I'm the adult, and that I needed to say something, I said, "My name is Dale Wilson. This is my son Bradley. I'm sorry, but I have to ask you a very difficult question…" Without waiting, turning back to the boy, "Are you safe? Have you been harmed?" Then realizing I didn't know his name, I asked, "I'm sorry for being rude… would you tell us your name?"
The child reached his arm down and used his fingers to scratch the right side of his crotch, then brought them back up and rested them at his sides, "Christian. My name is Christian Russello. It's nice to meet you, Sir. If I may be so forward, I feel like I know you, yet we've never met before, have we?"
"No, we haven't met before. At least I don't think so. Are you okay? Are you safe?" I asked, needing to know from the bottom of my heart.
"Yes Sir, I'm safe. But, why did your son remove me?"
I took in a deep breath, now not knowing how to answer his question… Yet, knowing Katy like I did and do, the questions had to be answered.
"We just have information that leads us to believe that you may be in great danger. Some awful revelations have become known over the past several weeks, and, well, I have deep concerns for your safety."
"I am in no danger, Sir. I'm being taken on a mission."
"A mission?" Bradley asked. I nodded.
"Sirs, I am in no danger. I am on a mission. God has called me to do His will. I appreciate your keeping me safe. I must go now, please excuse me. My mother will be looking for me."
It's true. My fears came to me, much like a bowling ball traveling down a bowling alley lane getting ready to smash and toss pins all over the place would do given half a chance.
I closed the distance between Christian and myself. When I was standing in front of him, I reached across and removed his ball cap to see all of him. Unable to stop myself, I reached my arms out, then without permission pulled the child into my arms and held him firmly.
"Dad, what's going on?" Bradley asked, standing behind and to the side of me.
My sons knew nothing of my indiscretion. Right then and there, the magnitude of what I'd done settled deep into my bones. "Christian, is Katy your mother?"
"Yes. She's my mother. Although we don't live together, she's still the woman who gave birth to me. If I may ask, why do you ask such questions of me?" Christian asked. He quickly put his arms around my lower chest, then pushed away and looked into my eyes. He was waiting for an answer.
I turned to Bradley. He was looking at Christian, then he'd look at me, then back at this boy we'd never before met. His wheels were turning, turning, turning. "Dad, what's going on here?"
"Before I explain, and I will tell you everything," I turned back to Christian and gave him back the ball cap. He put it on and adjusted it so the sun wasn't shining directly into his eyes, "I need to know if you know what your mother has been doing? Has she told you that she'd been recruiting children to do the unthinkable?" I decided to go with the question, because the bullshit needed to stop right then and there, right now.
"What do you mean? My mother is a long haul over the road truck driver. Like I said, I don't live with her. She picked me up from where I live. She told me that she wanted to get to know me. The elders gave their permission. When we were in the truck, which is pretty kewl by the way, she told me of a mission that she's on, and that I need to be a part of it… here I am."
"Did she tell you where the mission was to be held?"
"Yes. We're headed to Topeka, Kansas. There's a church there. They need a youth minister… that will be my role." The boy said, then reached his hand back down to scratch his crotch. He wasn't even aware that he was doing it, or if he was he did a good job of keeping his face steady and focused.
"Tell him, Dad." Bradley said, walking toward me. When he arrived, he put his arm around my waist and held me firmly.
Christian turned to me. His eyes bored holes into mine. The fourteen-year-old child was dressing me down right then and there. I felt that I needed to say something about the past, what it meant, and who Christian was, or who I thought he was… with the striking resemblance to Jeremy, and his stature eerily like Bradley's. I asked, "Christian, did your mother ever mention who your father happened to be, anything at all?"
"No Sir. I've asked her a couple of times so that I would know my lineage; however she would steer the conversation away. I gave up. I decided that knowing who my father is … is no longer important."
"You have mentioned 'elders'. May I ask who they are and what they do? This is very important."
"They are the adults where I live, Sir. They've taught me all there is to know about living life. And, no, Sir, I am in no danger being and living with them, if this is what you need to know."
I accepted his answer. His eyes were bright and cheery, not distant and vacant as John had told me about the boys that had come into his life.
Before I could ask him any further questions, he turned away and walked to the side of the dumpster. From the motion by his arms and their location in relation to the front of his body, and then the sound of pee hitting the ground – I turned away to give him his privacy. Bradley, meanwhile, walked to the side of Christian and did the same thing. This was all good. It gave me a moment to chill and think of what I wanted to say, and how to say it.
When they had themselves put together and returned to their positions, where we were standing in a little circle, I just said, "Christian, listen to me very carefully. I have a long history with the lady, Katy, whom you were riding with. At one time we were close and dear friends. A few weeks ago, I was on a run, I'm a truck driver as well, and I entrusted her with two boys that I'd met down in Florida. A few days later, I heard from one of those kids. He and his best friend had been taken to her house where they'd been horribly abused in every sense of the word, including sexually. I have every reason to believe that you are in danger. You see, a man referred to as 'Patriarch' is the same one that abused them."
"How so, Sir, if I may ask?"
I looked at Bradley. He didn't know very much of what Jordan and Luke had told me about not only their experience, but Lawrence's as well. I'd told him enough to get him fired up, but we hadn't had the opportunity to really talk, as I'd planned to do on our run.
I took a deep breath, then looked directly into Christian's eyes, hoping against all hope that he would believe me, and knew that I was only looking out for his wellbeing.
"Son, the long and short of it is… they were held in captivity against their will. They were tied to a table, physically hurt, and then they were penetrated by the man who should have protected them. He did it in God's name. I have heard about, but I have not personally seen, a boy who had a cross burned into his back across his shoulders. Lastly, all of the boys, if they weren't already circumcised had their penises hacked. One of the boys was bought and sold on the black child sex market. He was of no use to them any longer once he'd been grievously injured. His colon had been perforated during a, uhmm, ritual. This is just the beginning, Christian. The psychological damage is done. They may never be capable of trusting anyone, much less an adult."
The boy took it all in. His facial expression showed great concern. "If I may ask, Sir, how does she fit into this picture?"
I took in a deep breath, searched the kid's eyes, and said, "Son, she traffics children, mainly boys, mostly around your age. If I may say so… you are a very handsome young man… I am afraid for you. I hope you understand what I'm saying."
"I hear you, Sir. I believe what you are telling me. Your words only tell me that I have to travel to the lair of Satan and put a stop to it. You have been honest with me, now let me be honest with you and your son."
I nodded solemnly, as did Bradley. Bradley's eyes were moist. I realized how hard this was on him, as I had a pretty good idea that disclosing the true nature of what had happened deeply sank into his psyche. I turned back to Christian, "Whatever you tell me will only help me to help you."
"I understand. I would not disclose certain things as I am about to tell you – unless I trusted you, implicitly." The boy thought, for just a few seconds before saying, "I am searching for my brothers." He took in a deep breath, swallowed very hard, and his eyes filled with tears though they didn't yet fall. He reached up and brushed them away, then bore holes into my soul. Continuing, "She said that I had three, though she wouldn't tell me who they were, where they lived, or anything that I or my elders could use to find them." The child took in a deep breath, looked away for a second, adjusted his ball cap so that it was tilted slightly to the left, and scratched his crotch once again.
God I prayed that he wasn't the subject of abuse such that Lawrence, Aaron, Eric and the newest boy Dalton had been exposed to, that he hadn't been mutilated.
It was now or never.
I turned to Bradley and reached out my arms toward him. He stood steadfast, looking deeply into my eyes. I turned to Christian. Both were paying rapt attention to my indecision, hurt and fear.
Knowing that now was the time for the truth to be told, I said, "Bradley, Christian, there's a very good chance that… that… I could be your father."
Bradley's eyes went wide open. He shook his head just enough to let me know that the revelation was profound, and troubling to him. He started breathing deeply in and out, in and out, as though his life depended on the depths his lungs were expanding and contracting.
My boy's eyes misted over. He looked into my eyes with confusion and angst. I continued, "Fifteen years ago I was unfaithful to your mother. We were having a very difficult time in our marriage, and I handled it in a way that was not right." I turned to Christian, "I'm sorry that you had to have found out this way, right now. I know this is very hard on you, both of you."
Bradley then did what I didn't want him to do, yet I knew the revelations had to be catastrophic to him. He walked to the car, opened the door to the passenger side, got inside, closed the door, and leant forward so that his head was resting on the dashboard. I knew that he needed time to process the information, my disclosure of hurting his mother.
I turned to Christian. "I didn't know that I had another son. Know this: I am not ashamed of you, nor am I angry at you, but I am very upset that your mother didn't tell you about me. Nonetheless, I'm sure she had her reasons, and those reasons are not for me to question… not right now. It's adult stuff."
"Sir, the elders told me that I am not a bastard, that I would one day meet the man who sired me, that I would not be disappointed in who I met, and that I was not to fear him. She who gave birth to me, I've only met her four times in my life that I know of, did not even mention that I had a father. Like I said, the two times that I asked her who he was, where he was so that I could make up my own mind about him, she closed the conversation. That was it. She would take off. I wouldn't see her for a couple of years so I gave it but little thought. I am sorry that this has hurt your real son. I must go now. If anything, I feel even more compelled to do the mission; I'll be just fine."
"No… you won't be just fine, Christian. They do horrible things to children, boys especially. You will be indoctrinated into their ways. If you do not give in, they will take everything that ever mattered to you and turn and twist it into something best left for a horror show. They will squeeze every last thing of significance until it explodes in front of you. I have not told you everything that they did to the kids, and I'll not share them with you now. It's not important. It only upsets me, and makes me want to do things to the perpetrators that I am not proud of. No man should want to hurt and harm another man; however there are times when it seems right."
"God will determine what punishment is due, Sir. They may atone for their sins on this planet. If not, then they will be held accountable before their soul rests. Excuse me, Sir."
The boy waited for acknowledgement. I nodded. He went back to the front of the dumpster, away from me. I saw his pants drop to the ground. He reached into a pocket and grabbed hold of something, then his hands disappeared. I couldn't see what he was doing because the dumpster hid my vision. Soon he bent over, reached down which showed me his bare bottom, pulled up his jeans, then returned, stood in front of me and put a tube of medicine into his right front pants pocket. My heart broke. I prayed to the God of love that I know in my heart and pleaded with Him, hoping against all hope that this child hadn't been mutilated. He was so gentle, loving, unassuming, calm, self-assured, yet he had an aura of wonderment and innocence permeating through his being, his soul.
I looked over to the passenger side of the car to see if Bradley was still there, or if he was reacting or responding… his head was still bowed against the dashboard.
Christian said, "Sir, your son needs you right now. I'm fine. They will not hurt me."
"Yes they will. I may have doubts and misgivings and regret and pain, but there are two things that I hold near and dear, and those are, one, my family. My family will accept you as theirs, simply because we are yours and you are ours. Secondly, you will be harmed if you go with her. If you come with me, then you will see what hurt and harm was inflicted on those boys. If you are on a mission, then the best mission will be to meet those boys and bring healing to them. They've been through so much in their short lives. They are your age. Your age is appealing, for lack of a better word, to Phillips and his ilk. All of the boys are between twelve and fifteen. All the boys are in the throes of puberty. Their Patriarch is intent upon telling them that their sexuality is wrong, to be shamed, to be controlled, to be punished… he does this until the boy no longer sees his body as a Chalice of God's love and mercy. They are made to feel guilty for such basic things as erections, wet dreams, masturbation, normal healthy sexual development and curiosity. He cuts their penises. He fucks their bottoms as though they were for him and him only. A man of God doesn't do those things to children. It is wrong on every level. One of the boys, a black child, was whored out to the men of law enforcement in Breckenridge. Not only that; the epitome of the abuse was having a cross burned deeply into the tender flesh of his upper back. There's more, but I hope and pray that you understand that a mission where you will not be hurt and harmed, where you can be helpful to their understanding is what you need to do."
The boy was thinking at the horrific disclosures he'd just received from a man professing to be his father. I could only hope that he trusted me, that I wasn't lying to him, that I didn't want him to be hurt and harmed, and that I thought he would be good for the boys, but, first, one question burned into my mind, and it came about by seeing the boy fidgeting and scratching at his crotch. I looked deeply into his eyes, searching for truth. I was concerned about the 'elders' he was speaking of, but I was going to wait for Christian to speak first.
"My Elders, they taught me to be compassionate. This is the only life I know. Your account of what happened is – deeply troubling to my soul. I must speak with my God. I must ask Him to reign compassion upon those terrorists so that they see the errors of their ways. God, our ultimate and Supreme Power grants mercy to all who open their minds to its existence. Right now, I must admit, that I can see myself… uhmm, Sir, exerting terror on their genitals."
The boy's body shook slightly. Surely he was imagining the horror, perhaps even living it in his own way. I thought now was the time to explore his life to see what he'd been taught, to see how he'd been educated by books. But first, I had to know, "Have you been hurt, Christian? Have people done wrong things to you?"
"No Sir. I've been treated very well. I've been loved. I've been permitted to freely love; the more love one gives the more one receives. I've been taught that our bodies are not bad, that they're not to be ashamed of, that they're not to be suppressed, for you see our bodies are an extension of our minds, of our spirits. You frequently state that they have been taught that sex is dirty, evil, to be avoided, to be suppressed – for fear of punishment, grievous punishment. If I may say so, at age 12, in my homeland, we are given the ritual of physical love. We are permitted to share our bodies with boys and girls of our class and caste. It is a beautiful ceremony. I've officiated at many such occasions, because, you see, adults are only on the periphery; they are not permitted to be present, although their love and support is never-ending present."
I thought back to my wild and wooly days in the 1960s, but the child pulled me back from going there, "My ritual was beautiful, Sir. Our rituals, Sir, are shared with both girls and boys. Like I prefer my flesh to be with female, yet I prefer to give myself to a boy. I know no difference. My love runs deep. This is where my mother and I differ. We are light years apart. I see what you are saying, Sir. She tells me that, and I say this because she found me lying with a girl while a boy was giving me his seed, love is between a girl and a boy, not two boys, not two girls. I must admit that I have been taught to respect my Elders, but at the same time, I was taught that I must stand on my own two feet, so to say."
"Well, unfortunately, here in the world, people teach us (a) that we can only love someone if they are of the opposite sex, (b) that our bodies betray us, (c) that children do not have sexuality, (d) that we are to thwart their normal and natural curiosities, (e) etc., etc., etc."
Christian, once again, reached down to his south of the border area to scratch and manipulate his organ. I asked, "Christian, do you need to see a doctor? Is something bothering you?"
"Oh no, Sir. I just need to remove these clothes. My mother forced me to get dressed, that our bodies are not to be exposed… This is the first time I've ever worn these garments, and they are driving me absolutely crazy."
"You mean you are not clothed where you live?"
"No. We do not know of the hang-ups people have… We were taught that our bodies are our own, that it is to be enjoyed while we're on this plane of life. If God found a hard penis repulsive, then why did he make it? The same thing is true for a girl's breasts. Sheesh."
He had a point there. Before we could continue our conversation, the sound of the car door closing interrupted our thoughts. I turned to see Bradley walking toward us. His cheeks were wet; his eyes were red-rimmed, yet he walked to me and pulled my arms around his shoulders. He took a deep breath, turned his head toward Christian, and said, "I'm sorry for acting like a baby. It's not your fault. Dad, why didn't you tell us?"
"Tell you about what? The affair? If so, then it is none of your business… it's an adult thing… I was wrong. Christian, in this world, and probably any other, we have this business of commitment. We marry a person. We are to be faithful to them. It's important for you to know that you were not conceived in any bad way. Your mother and I have always been close, at least until recently. Bradley, you have a half-sister quite a bit older than you, older than Jeremy too. Katy and I had a child back before your mother and I married."
"Why didn't you marry Katy?" My boy asked.
"Because we weren't right for one another. We both knew it wouldn't work. Besides, if we would have married, then you and Jeremy would not be present. I love you guys so much. I'm sorry this has hurt you."
Bradley nodded into my chest and squeezed his arms around me one last time before pulling away. He walked to Christian and said, "I'm not hurt because you are here. You look just like our older brother Jeremy. We have pictures of him at your age, at home in our photo albums. So, are you coming with us?" Bradley asked very gently, putting his arm around Christian's shoulders. My heart swelled. I turned away and wiped a tear threatening to leak from my eyes.
The boy looked at me for confirmation that he was indeed invited to be with us. Once again, his answer was a deep, deep hug that was freely given and received.
We decided to go home to show Christian where, when everything was done, we'd most likely return. No sooner had we arrived than Christian and Bradley took off for Bradley's room. I made iced tea for us all. Not too surprisingly, the boys entered the kitchen wearing nothing but smiles. Christian walked over to me. Unabashedly, he showed me two abrasions on the head of his penis, where it had been rubbed raw by the zipper of his jeans. Bradley said that he'd give Christian some underwear, that he hadn't been wearing any.
They sat down at the kitchen table. I went to the master bedroom, retrieved two of the older family picture albums and brought them to the table. About halfway through the first book were pictures of Jeremy at about Christian's age, maybe a year older. The younger boy looked at them with rapt interest. I got up, went into the bathroom, retrieved the hand-held mirror and took it into the kitchen, then urged Christian to look into the mirror and alternate looking at Jeremy's pictures. He smiled brightly. I noticed the boy relaxed tremendously. While their attention was in the book, I went to the master bedroom, closed the door, went to my bed where I sat down and pulled out my phone.
Before making the call to Peter, I turned to the dresser, took the picture of Regina, the boys and me on one of our vacations to Grand Lakes of the Cherokee, and turned it facedown on the dresser's surface. How do you turn over thirty-eight years of marriage and a family just like that? I found it was easy to let go of the past so that the present could be nurtured and enjoyed.
"Hey Peter, this is Dale. I've got some news to share. I'm pretty sure it's going to change up our plans…"
The door to my room opened. Bradley and Christian entered. They came and sat down with Christian on my right side and Bradley on the other. They put their arms around my back. Christian put his head into my side. It took me a couple of minutes before I was able to say into the phone, "Peter, I have another son, one that I didn't know about before. One hour ago, our lives changed."
"Oh really? That's good news, really good news. I've got good news to share with you, too… Not as good as what you just shared, not even close, but things are moving well on our end. Can you talk?"
"Yes, of course. These boys are as much a part of the plan as anyone else."
He told me that the accommodations would be ready by midnight; that people were working to open the individual apartment-type suites as we spoke. I shared that we hadn't yet had the family meeting to make final decisions, and now that there was another child with his own interests, we had to and would take him into consideration.
Our conversation turned to Katy and her whereabouts. I suspected she was still in Woodward, and was probably frantically looking for Christian, an innocent child, and, who would, if I had anything to say about it, remain innocent for just as long as possible, before he had to face the real world… But then again, who am I to say that his world is not Real – it was all he knew to be true. I was comforted by the fact that the child's eyes were a direct window to his soul – he was being truthful and open. I would know in a heartbeat if he was being less than truthful, or if he was withholding anything.
The boys went into the restroom. Bradley was instructing Christian on the intricacies of a toilet. When Christian expressed his fear of being sucked down the thing, I had to get up and walk into the living room before I burst out laughing.
Peter was curious, so I told him. While his voice registered amusement, he didn't laugh. When I thought about it, I stopped laughing. Immediately I felt guilty for laughing at Christian's vulnerability, the innocence that I professed to keep for as long as possible.
I walked back to my room, popped my head into the bathroom to see what they were up to. Christian was sitting on the toilet, smiling, contented. He said, further relaying his innocence to me, "This is kewl."
When I walked out, Bradley was urging Christian to let it go, that he needed to use it, too.
I realized then that we take so many things for granted. I'd try to work on it.
While they were 'busy' I brought up the fact that Katy was in Woodward, or had been not too long ago, and that I was pretty sure she'd not leave until her Precious Cargo was safely tucked away… I shuddered to think about what that may mean.
"I have Katherine Rose Russello in our database."
"That's her. She goes by Katy."
"She picked up a couple of loads in August, one in September, and three in October. She called in just this morning wanting to drop off a package. Since she had no bill of lading for the contents, we refused it. Says here she's licensed for tankers and hazardous materials, as well as dry goods."
"She's driving in front of two boxes. They weren't tagged. I didn't have a chance to check them out. As far as I know she's always driven legal, but with everything that's been going on, I wouldn't put it past her to pull just about anything, legal or not." I said, thinking how upset she must be right this moment, not knowing where her kid was.
"What do you think about calling in law enforcement, Dale?"
"No. Let's not get them involved. Nobody's in danger. As far as they're concerned, probably, I would just imagine that I'm guilty of kidnapping. To prove that I'm his father could take some time, and by then she's gone and the kid's life is in jeopardy. He really wants, I can tell, to go back home, but he's got a little different mission now… he wants to try and help the kids who were abused. For now, let's keep our plans going as they are… I don't think there's going to be any difficulty with the family… so long as we're together – always."
"Of course. Okay, now some bad news. Robbie's parents. Kendrick Akers, age 39, his last-known address is, of course, here in Woodward, was arrested for kidnapping – a federal charge. He's at Beaumont Low, Texas.
"Russell James Scott-Akers, age 36 , was also arrested for kidnapping. He's incarcerated in Seagoville Texas. The system, I'm positive, had to really grope to get both of them on the same charges. There's nothing in the arrest warrants or orders for incarceration for anything even remotely 'gay'. Ashwood had a hard-on to get his agenda in place; he's groping by using established laws. He really had to push this one, especially in light of Kendrick being the natural father."
"Kidnapping their own son?"
"They took their child to the Arch in St. Louis. As soon as they got home, they were arrested – in front of the kid."
"Why wasn't Robbie taken into protective custody… or… and this is sick – why wasn't he repatriated to one of those hell holes? I'm glad he wasn't. He's such a soft, gentle child… Uhmm, I'm not even going there. So where do we go from here – with his parents?"
"That's a very good question. I'm waiting on a call from a friend of a friend, an attorney. Is Robbie's home available? I'm not saying this right… do you know if it can be entered?"
"I don't know, why?"
"Birth certificates. Custodial arrangements. So long as there is a paper trail for Robbie's parentage, there's no way they can be convicted of kidnapping."
"Adam mentioned a friend, an attorney who practices family law. Maybe he can help get things straightened out, or at least on a path of resolution. Robbie deserves it. So do his parents."
Rachel left the building where she worked to go pick up the boys from school for an important family meeting to be held in the middle of the afternoon. Jeremy had told her the long and short of what was prompting the need to get together to talk it out, to weigh out the pros and cons of staying in Woodward for the duration. Nothing bad had happened in the city; it was where they'd grown up, had friends, worked and played. It was a good town, safe and secure away from the big city. They'd talked about leaving Woodward a time or two, but they didn't want to uproot themselves or Carlin, and they knew Dad would be heartbroken if they were to leave.
As she walked to her car, the wail of a siren split through the air screaming its warnings. Normally, it only shrieked Wednesdays at noon, or during the summer during tornado warnings. To a much lesser degree it sounded at noon every day, simply to announce the noon hour. This was different. Much different. The siren didn't waver; it stayed steady.
The sky was clear. The breeze was out of the south bringing in warm air. She estimated the temperature to be between seventy-five and eighty degrees Fahrenheit. It was simply a beautiful day, and it was supposed to continue through the rest of the week and into the weekend.
After turning onto Oklahoma Avenue from the 270, she headed east into the heart of the city. There wasn't much traffic that time of the day; however, it was a whole different story once Twenty-First Street arrived. It was stopped, and then four city patrol vehicles, followed by four Oklahoma State Highway Patrol cars came screaming down the road with their lights and sirens blaring. She pulled to the curb and waited for them to pass. 'Even the police don't drive that fast through the middle of town,' she thought as the last one passed on her left.
Thinking there was a bad accident up ahead, Rachel turned onto Twenty-First, headed south to Oak Avenue where she turned east since Maple doesn't go through to the school located at Ninth Street and Maple. She nearly had a heart attack when an OHP vehicle came tearing down the street toward her. The officer skidded his vehicle sideways in front of her, stopped, and then jumped out of his car with his riot gun pointed to the sky. His eyes never left hers. She knew he was sizing her up; does she pose any kind of a threat?
The man walked around the front of his car and headed to the driver's side window of Rachel's. Due to the fantastically nice day, Rachel had it down.
Before she could ask what was going on, the officer said, "Ma'am you need to leave the area. Just turn around and leave. We have a live law-enforcement incident in progress. Please, just leave, now."
"Sir, I've come to pick up my boys from school."
"I'm sorry, Ma'am. That's not possible. The school and this whole area is on lockdown. Please leave."
"Sir, is there going to be a staging area?"
"Ma'am, we are very early into this. If you do not leave right now…" The officer didn't need to say anything more.
However, Rachel said, "My children are in that school. I will be parked on Maple at the edge of the park."
"Ma'am, I have a daughter in the school, too. That should be okay. Just pull into a driveway. There is more law enforcement on its way. If I hear something, I'll try to let you know… just understand…"
Rachel nodded, then turned around, drove up Thirteenth-Street, and turned east on Maple. She backed into a driveway from which she could see the school. Cops were swarming everywhere… where did they come from? The town is too small for that many.
"Jeremy, there's an incident at the junior high school. They won't let me in." Rachel said, worriedly, after connecting with her husband.
"I'm in a gridlock. I'm sitting at fifth and Oklahoma. Where exactly are you?" He replied.
Twenty minutes later, after walking through neighborhoods, Jeremy arrived and got into the car with Rachel. They kissed. Neither said anything, but concern was clearly written in their expressions. They held hands. At the same time, Jeremy pulled out his cell phone, pressed speed dial #7, "Dad, something bad is going on at the middle school. Cops are everywhere. Traffic is gridlocked."
Jeremy didn't know that Dale, Bradley, Christian, and Peter were standing in Granger's parking lot observing the show of law enforcement. This was bigger than they'd ever seen, and the three men had lived in Woodward their entire lives.
"Let's just stay calm. We don't know what is going down, so let's not jump to any conclusions. Where exactly are you?" Dale asked.
Dale turned to Peter, "Peter, we've gotta go. There's something going on at the school… Carl and Robbie go to school there."
To be continued