Copyright © 2012 - 2015 by Joe Writerman and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved
Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012
Jose, despite the early morning cold, donned a pair of tight white underwear, nylon running shorts, a cotton tank top shirt, a pair of ankle socks, and Nike running shoes that the Shaw's had purchased for him. He stopped in at the restroom to take care of the morning ritual, brushed out his hair, and then stole through the house toward the kitchen where he poured and slugged down a glass of orange juice. Nobody was up. This early morning ritual was his time to be alone.
Very quietly, he opened the door leading from the kitchen to the garage. There was a back entryway which he used to go outside.
Meanwhile in Ken and Nadine's room, a soft buzzer sound elicited from the home security alarm system awakened Ken. Quickly he turned onto his side to look at the small monitor to see who or what set it off. He smiled at seeing Jose stealing through the kitchen to the garage, dressed in running clothes. After resetting the system, he rolled into Nadine, put his arm around her and fell off to sleep, knowing the boy was okay.
Back at home in Woodward, the boy typically ran three miles before breakfast. Since coming to live with the Shaw's for an indeterminate period of time, Jose often ran five miles, sometimes six.
The air, on Thanksgiving morning, was especially cold since a weather front had come through the previous evening plummeting the temperatures into the single digits. Along with the bone chilling cold, it dumped eight inches of powdered snow. Jose looked at the thermometer hanging on the garage door to find it read seven degrees Fahrenheit.
His body involuntarily shivered. Before bed, he'd gotten out and shoveled the driveway, sidewalks, and a path from the back yard to the driveway. Despite Ken telling him that he didn't need to do it, he did it anyway so that the adults didn't have to do it, and for gratitude of having somewhere to stay until things with his mother got straightened out.
Wasting no time, he took off at a quick steady pace. He knew that he'd warm up pretty soon, so he ran a bit faster than usual. The streets, lit only by powerful street lights, kept him aware of his surroundings, and to light the path he normally took through the town of Millard, a western suburb of Omaha.
During the night he awakened to a horrifying dream where his father was once again shot dead. He didn't think he'd ever get over seeing the blood, brains, and splinters of bone that had once housed intelligence and life-sustaining substances. Getting back to sleep had taken a couple of hours. Both Ken and Kaydyn had told him that this would happen, but would become much less frequent as time went along. They were also honest by saying the dreams would probably never go entirely away.
At their insistence, he'd agreed to attend and participate in therapy sessions with a therapist specializing in 'Post Traumatic Stress Disorder', or PTSD for short. He felt it was helping because he could recognize when his body began reacting by sweating, his eyes seeing only tunnel vision, his heart rate exponentially increasing, and his muscles tightening up beyond what he felt was normal. The therapist felt that getting back into running would be a good method to use.
Jose found that to be completely true. Although the cold weather was not a normal situation in Woodward, he found the cold was a good method to make him run faster to get his blood pumping faster which would generate body heat.
This morning he ran all the way into the town proper, passed the prosthetic shop where Tomas had been fitted with excellent legs to get around much better. Jose smiled as visions of how his friend had become and was still becoming much more independent with activities of everyday life. When faced with indecision and reluctance, Jose pushed him to the limits, often pissing Tomas off to no end. They'd sparred a couple of times, but, in the end, Tomas gave in and accomplished what he'd set out to do.
Although the two boys were becoming fast friends, Tomas proclaimed, not loudly though, that he was not gay, but admitted that he was curious about same gender sex. Other than for sleeping together, nude most of the time, jacking off, and occasional kissing and caressing, their relationship was brotherly. Jose, meanwhile, enjoyed their togetherness for it gave him a longing for a complete relationship with another guy close to his age.
Due to slick conditions and the occasional snow drift, Jose fell a number of times, but was quick to get up and forge on as though nothing happened. The falls didn't hurt, nor did they slow him down, other than for the time when he'd brush off the snow as much as was possible.
He knew the freeway was four point eight miles away from the Shaw's house. Not only that, but it is four point eight miles back. Once there, he turned around and headed home. By now, though, the cold was beginning to take its toll, but still, although somewhat slowing down, he continued onward and arrived home. He stole into the house to see Ken, Kaydyn and Nadine sitting at the kitchen table enjoying their coffee. He took off his shoes and made sure they were on the rug just inside the door.
Nadine shooed the boy into the bathroom to take a shower to warm up. He didn't argue. By the time his body was warmed and clean, his muscles were quivering from the exertions. Since living with the Shaw's his ultra-sense of modesty was pretty much resolved, however he wrapped up in a towel and went to his room to get dressed in warm clothing. Once again, he did his hair, brushed his teeth, and made sure his clothes were neat and tidy. He returned to the kitchen to find a cup of hot cocoa ready at his place at the table.
"You were gone longer than you usually are … is everything okay?"
"Yes, Ma'am. I ran close to ten miles this morning. The cold was invigorating. The quietness kept me going. The snow is beautiful. Where I come from snow is not all that usual. We usually get one snow in the wintertime."
Nadine reached across, drew Jose into a hug and touched his cheek with her lips. Jose's good arm went around her shoulders and squeezed lightly. She got up, went into the master bathroom, retrieved supplies, then returned and redressed the bullet wound. It was healing up nicely and without any sign of infection. She asked, "Have you exercised your arm?"
"Yes, Ma'am. When I was running, I more or less forced it to straighten out all the way, although the cold hindered me a little bit. When I was in the shower, I used the warm water to exercise it some more." Jose said. Ken silently chuckled because he had a very good idea as to how exactly the boy exercised. The twinkle in his eyes while looking at the boy was enough to cause Jose to blush just a little bit.
Tomas, meanwhile, was busily putting on his prosthetics, then managed to get himself upright without assistance, intent to do it himself without assistance. Once everything was in place, he took tentative steps toward the door so that he could head for the bathroom to attend to his morning ritual.
As had become customary, once his business was complete, he walked to the bedroom that Ashley, Joaquin and Maria shared. They were sleeping together, huddled together beneath the blankets. He gently closed the door and then headed for the kitchen to be with his family. He sat down. Nadine fixed him a cup of cocoa. He looked at the clock to see that the time read 7:15AM then turned his attention to Jose, "Have you been out for your run this morning?"
Jose replied, "I have. I ran almost ten miles this morning."
"Wow. I wish I could do that. But, I got up on my own this morning, which is way cool."
Everybody agreed wholeheartedly.
Within the hour the little ones, Joaquin and Maria were up and sitting on Kaydyn's lap at the kitchen table enjoying their glasses of orange juice. Once they were caught up with Jose's account of his run, Nadine and Shelly set out to fix breakfast. Jose was scheduled to visit his mother in the psychiatric ward for the first time since the incident when she lost reality and almost committed suicide. Depending on how the visit went, coming home with Jose for Thanksgiving dinner was a possibility.
Chet Waters, a mercenary hired by Peter Granger of Granger Industries to rescue and bring to Woodward a man who had been improperly imprisoned by the Ashwood administration for gay atrocities toward children, turned off of a little traveled road into the town itself. With Kendrick's instructions, they soon arrived at the home he had shared with his husband, Russell, and their son, Robbie. So many months had passed since he'd felt their arms around him, and had his around them, that he was a bundled with passion and nervousness.
Their SUV was parked in the driveway. Chet pulled the Humvee to the curb in front of the house, turned off the engine and waited for Kendrick to make the first move toward freedom, at last.
Kendrick sat still for a couple of moments just looking at the house, too stunned to move – until the curtains parted. It was then that he saw his son's eyes pop wide open. Almost instantly, the boy, wearing only a pair of thin cotton thigh length pajama bottoms came tearing out of the house. Kendrick, unable to hold back any longer, opened the door and started running toward his son. The two met. Robbie body slammed his father and worked his legs around the man he loved with all of his heart and soul. Neither could talk. Both had tears running from their eyes and, because of the tightness in their chests, could not speak.
Russell, standing in the door, slowly walked to his husband and son, enveloped them into a deep, deep hug, and joined into their emotional upheavals.
Jim Waters, Chet's husband of many years, fetched the small ruck sack holding all of Kendrick's worldly possessions then walked to the newly reunited family and handed it to Kendrick, and said, "We've got to go now. Congratulations."
With that said, the two men took off to take on another similar assignment. They loved their work for it meant seeing happiness, joy, contentment, and excitement on families long ago wrongfully separated by evil intentions.
This new assignment was very unconventional. Normally, they drove their Humvee, extracted the subjects, then booked and ran. This time they would acquire a motorhome at a remote location then take twelve boys of varying ages to an undisclosed location. The only hint of destination was that it would be in a remote south Texas coastal community.
Robbie, unable to separate himself from his parents, followed them into the house.
Inside, the smell of baking bread, a cooking turkey, and a tray of dried bread crumbs that would be used to make homemade dressing, assaulted, pleasantly speaking that is, his nostrils. Unable to stop himself, Kendrick fell into Russell's arms. The two men hugged fiercely. Unable to find words that would adequately express themselves, they simply held onto one another and let their emotions wash over and through them. Although he didn't want to, Robbie gave them their space.
Carl, meanwhile, awakened from a night filled with fitful sleep, tossed off the covers exposing everything he had or hoped to have, walked into the bathroom to take care of the morning ritual. His organ, fully extended, quivered violently when the boy squeezed it to expel all remaining drops. Knowing it would not go down on its own accord, he closed the door, returned to the toilet, sat down, and began the age-old art of self-pleasure. The moment soon arrived, splattering his abdomen and upper thighs with his life giving fluids. As the last spasm overtook his young body, a knock on the door interrupted his thoughts, but not enough to cause the moment to end. "Yeah?" Carl asked breathlessly.
"Telephone. It's Robbie." Rachel, his mother, said through the closed door.
The boy, completely comfortable being nude around his parents, quickly opened the door, pushed past Rachel and ran to the phone that Jeremy was holding out for him to take.
Jeremy, noting the clear nearly white trailing fluids on his son's south of the border areas, quickly handed the boy a small kitchen towel. Carl looked down then blushed fiercely, but it was not enough to scream when Robbie told him that his dad was finally home.
"WHEN? HOW? YEAH!!!!!" Carl half screamed into the telephone, causing Jeremy and Rachel to look to where their son was standing close to the phone in the kitchen. "Mom, Dad, Kendrick's home! He made it!"
Jeremy and Rachel, already knew that Kendrick had been located, extracted and was on his way home, smiled at seeing and experiencing their son's exuberance. Jeremy took hold of and held Carl in his arms as the boy valiantly fought to maintain his composure. He knew that his son had hurt deep down into his core for his boyfriend, Robbie. Now, the moment of reunion had arrived, and he was feeling profound relief that it finally happened. The melancholy was gone. Giddy excitement took over, utterly and completely.
"I'll be right over. Don't go anywhere, got it?" Carl said with a voice of authority. Before Robbie could respond, Carl disconnected the call, gave his dad a quick hug, and then tore out for his room to get dressed.
Rachel stopped him, "Shower!"
His shower, though thorough, took less than 10 minutes. With his hair still dripping, he wrapped a towel around his midsection, ran into the kitchen and exclaimed, "Ok, I'm going."
Jeremy chuckled, "You do realize that you are wearing only a towel?"
Carl looked down. His expression of realization caused Rachel to smile. She went to the boy, removed the towel and began drying her son's hair, and said, "You might ask permission, you know."
Carl looked at her with contempt clearly emanating from his eyes. Knowing he had no choice, he said, "Mom, can I go to Robbie's?"
"When you get dressed. Can't have no boy of mine showing the world all that he has, now can we?"
Both parents chuckled, yet Rachel, somehow, maintained her stern stance. Knowing that her son was about to explode from excitement, she quickly but firmly dried his hair, and then patted his butt to let him know he was free to go get dressed and then go to his boyfriend's house for however long.
Carl in his hurry, grabbed the first articles of clothing he could find. One black sock, another red, a pair of underwear that he put on backward, jeans, a black t-shirt, and his dress shoes. He ran into the kitchen. Rachel simply chuckled, pulled her child into her arms and hugged him very quickly, then sent him on his way, knowing that any further delay would be met with fierce resistance. She thought about telling the boy that he needed to comb his hair, but didn't.
On his way out, the boy slammed the front door closed, a no-no rule in the house. But they let it pass – this time.
Dale and Bradley, both slept in late. They were still tired from the trip from the resort to the only home they knew. They arrived late on Tuesday.
Since then, they cleaned the house from top to bottom to get rid of the musty smells, cobwebs, and to arrange it to their liking. Granted Regina was a good housekeeper, but the arrangements were largely impractical for two men.
Although they didn't really say anything, the memories of the hell that had happened in their home were in the backs of their minds, but not so much as to keep them from moving forward.
Melissa hadn't spent a whole lot of time with Bradley and Dale, because her family was basically doing the same things to their home, but they had plans to get together for dinner at Steve and Bea's residence later that afternoon for Thanksgiving dinner, for, after all, they had much to be thankful for.
The final task was to retrieve the weapons from the rig. Dale took off to do just that while Bradley took his shower and got ready for the day.
While a bit melancholic from not keeping his word, Dale realized that the boys, Luke and Jordan, were much better off with the Finnegan's, for it was with them that they'd bonded. The separation from the resort had been painful for all concerned, however it was harder on Dale. At the same time, he knew they would be much better off.
Dale was more worried about Lawrence. The boy had taken the complete destruction of John's home very personally. It was as if he was taking responsibility for his father's actions, which was completely untrue.
In a private conversation with his father, Dale, Christian promised to take Lawrence away from the interruptions and have a heart to heart talk to convince him he was nothing like his father, and never would be. Lawrence's problem, Christian said, was that he took personally that which he had no business taking on his shoulders. Christian was a very insightful boy, loving, caring, intuitive, and oh so sensitive. But a big difference between him and Lawrence was that Christian channeled his concerns in a positive way, not self-deprecatingly.
Dale and Christian's separation was painful, very painful, yet Dale knew the boy was 'out of his element', meaning that while his body was with his family and friends, his soul and mind were back with his tribe in a very remote location, away from dysfunctions of society.
During a later conversation, just between Dale and John, John had mentioned that a M.A.S.H. type of hospital had been brought in and set up in Breckenridge. Many of the townsfolk, after getting their injuries treated in hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were returning home to whatever remained, with firm resolutions to rebuild, and to not let one evil man destroy their spirits. John's family was set up, at least temporarily, in an old recently abandoned farm home located about thirty miles to the west of Breckenridge. It needed a lot of work, but was doable with a lot of help from the group of boys who called him dad.
Dale brought himself back to the here and now by carefully retrieving and sitting on the ground the cache of weapons they'd taken on their journey. When the last satchel was lowered, he began the process of carrying them into the house and returning them to the safe in his bedroom.
Bradley, after taking his shower and getting dressed, entered Dale's room and sat down on the bed, and said, "Dad, it's going to be okay. The fact remains that we're here now. Everything will work out. Are you doing okay?"
Dale put his arm around Bradley's shoulder, pulled the boy into his side and replied, "Yes, I'm doing okay. Thanks for asking. Life is different. Look, I need to apologize for not being here for you in the past; I hope to make it up to you. Next week, after I get back to work, I'm taking the rig to Oklahoma City and will sell it. I'm done with traveling the road. I'm just done. There are many more important things that I want to do. Now that I have a good job with Granger, we'll have time to go fishing and do whatever else there is to do."
"I'm sure that Melissa would be glad to join us. In fact, I'm sure she would insist."
Bradley thought for a moment before saying, "Dad, if it would be okay, could just you and I go for the first few times?"
Dale looked to his son, somewhat flabbergasted.
His son continued, "I don't mean this to sound badly… I would like to get to know you better. You're my dad. I love you. Uhmm, maybe I need you more than I thought."
Dale buried his face into Bradley's hair. For two reasons. First, to hide the tears that were welling up in his eyes. Secondly, to join his son's hug. He said, "I'd like that. We could go to The Lake of the Cherokees. Tony also said that we can use his cabin at any time, just to let him know we were coming. He's also trying to sell Adam's place. I've given some thought to buying it. It is paid off. All it would cost is back taxes which is a couple thousand dollars."
"That would be neat. Maybe Melissa and I could go there to be alone."
"Now that you have your driver's license, that won't be a problem. I say go for it."
"Dad, is Wayne going to be okay?"
"As you know, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The doctors thought it was benign, but the final tests are not in yet to know for sure."
Bradley sat silently for a moment, debating on whether to disclose something that happened to him while at the resort, when alone with Wayne in the woods. He decided to say, "Wayne has some serious issues honoring people's boundaries."
"How do you mean?" Dale asked, releasing his hold and looking into his son's eyes, searching for the meaning of Bradley's statement.
"He took me to the ground. I thought we were playing around… you know, roughhousing like guys do. He's strong, very strong, and, well, he had me face down and was grinding my butt… I got scared… stuff started coming back… you know – bad stuff; stuff that happened years ago. I'm not sure what would have happened if Jordan and Christian hadn't come along. I'm okay, now. They talked to me and calmed me down. Dad, since Christian got into my head, I've not had any more flashbacks."
Dale debated on saying anything about anything, then decided to leave well enough alone, only because Bradley was relaxed, not tense as he normally was when they talked about that event. "Thanks for telling me. Wayne has many problems with impulse control. Adam explained that a part of his brain that controls impulses was damaged when he was injured and lost so much blood that his heart stopped. It's no excuse, but is an explanation."
Dale patted his son's back when prompted the boy to continue his disclosures, "Dad, do you remember when I told you that Melissa and I were having problems… in bed?"
"We're not having problems anymore. They stopped after Christian and I talked about what Wayne tried to do to me."
"Good. Very good."
"Tuesday night we went for two hours…"
Dale chuckled, nervously, and said, "That's probably more information than I need to know." He quickly changed the subject, "I talked to Peter yesterday. He has an entry level job… if you'd be interested… he'd like to talk to you. The job is public relations, but he'll have to give you the particulars. He'd like to talk to you tomorrow so that you can start on Monday."
"A job? A real job?"
"Yup. A real job. Of course you will have to interview. You'll have to wear a suit and tie for the interview, and probably for the job as well. You'll be representing Granger."
"No problem! How much does it pay?"
"That I don't know. How much you are paid is between you and Mister Granger. Not even I will know how much your compensation will be… it is private and confidential information."
Bradley, excited beyond words, got up and ran to his bedroom where he stripped down to his underwear, walked into the closet, found his Sunday best suit, then put it on, found it fit, grabbed a tie then returned to Dale's bedroom and held it out. "I don't know how to tie a regular tie. Mom had me wear those clip on things."
"I'm not sure that I remember how to do it properly, but let's give it a try."
Thirty minutes later, they gave up and decided to let Jeremy show them how to do it since his dress code at Granger required a suit and tie.
They went to the kitchen and began looking through the cupboards for something to take to dinner at the Aker's home. Jeremy and Rachel planned to join them as they had heard so much about them when they were holed up at the resort. Bradley found a double-double chocolate cake mix. They both agreed that it would be super yummy.
While they worked together putting the cake together, Dale said, "Say, what are your ideas about us going car shopping next week? What with the new job, and your relationship with Melissa, you need transportation."
"Yeah, I agree. Dad, I'll pay you back. I'm going to have money set aside every payday for a car payment and insurance. It is time for me to pull my load and contribute. I've learned a lot over the past several weeks, that I need to be responsible."
"You're growing up, Bradley. Things are going to be much different than they were in that I'm going to be home to guide you along and instill my values. My values, must be, of course, filtered through what you feel to be important as every man has to find his way in this world. You have a good girl to walk alongside you."
Dale pulled Bradley into his side, hugged him and touched his lips to the top of his son's head. "It's true how that works. John and I had several conversations. His wife died, too. Different circumstances, but we found similarities to our relationships. I just wish your mother hadn't gotten all involved in that crazy shit that is called religion. I'm convinced that had I been here on a regular basis … well, things may have been different, but we'll never know for sure. Meanwhile, I'm moving on. It's a slow process."
Bradley nodded his understanding and agreement.
"What time are we supposed to be over at the Aker's?"
"Dinner is scheduled for 1:00PM. We'll be there early. Carl wants us to meet Robbie's parents. Speaking of, I haven't heard from him this morning… I wonder what he's up to.
Luke, normally the early riser in the Finnegan family, awakened with an urgent need to relieve the liquids threatening to leak from his fully elongated member. He did not, though, want to get up. Instead he cuddled into Jordan, hoping to stay warm and toasty beneath the two sleeping bags they'd put together to make a cocoon.
Five minutes later, unable to force himself back to sleep, he contemplated for a moment or two before crawling through the opening into the frigid air. Jared was also crawling out of his. They looked at one another, shivered nearly uncontrollably, yet smiled and took off for the rudimentary bathroom at the end of the long bunk room. They quickly fumbled with the zippers on their jeans then pointed their organs into the toilet and waited for the stream to begin, but it was slow going, a small dribble here, a small dribble there. Their hands were shaking violently, as were their concentrations at hand pun intended.
Finally, Luke, despite shivering violently, was able to let go. Hearing and seeing Luke's stream, Jared finally started relieving himself. He exclaimed, "Oh, I thought it would never start. What a relief!"
"You got that right." Luke replied, his voice wavering.
Once finished, Jared fumbled with getting his fully erected thing back to where it belonged, inside the confines formed by two pair of underwear, two pair of sweat pants and jeans, but it was a no-go.
Luke having the same problem, looked into Jared's eyes then began stroking that which designates him male with the intentions of releasing morning wood so that his thing would behave itself. Jared, not feeling the least bit bashful, took hold of his and began stroking it purposefully. They arrived in the same moment. The only evidence, other than what jettisoned into the toilet, were deep intakes of air into their lungs. After recovering, they stood there together waiting for deflation. It came soon.
Matthew, Stephen, Lawrence and Aaron, and Dalton had their turns to sleep in the motorhome the previous night. Dalton and Aaron were obliged to sleep there for fear that their bodies still were not fully recovered from their experiences with hypothermia.
Michael and Eric, now awake, walked into the restroom wearing only thin pairs of briefs. They hurried to the toilet. Their streams began immediately, though by the time they were finished they were shaking violently from the cold air. Michael said, "Don't you know that wearing as few clothes as possible while cuddled inside of a sleeping bag with your boyfriend keeps you warm and toasty?" His voice sounded borderline sarcastic, but a hint of a smile belayed complete sarcasm.
Jared snorted then replied, "That sounds good if you have a boyfriend, but since I have no such thing then I have to do with what I have, so there."
Michael, undeterred, retorted, "Hey, you were in Scouts longer than I was, oh Big Brother. You should know better."
"What? The boyfriend? No thanks. I don't bend that way."
"By the way you're shaking, you may want to reconsider. Besides I haven't seen any girls around to keep you warm and toasty, and satiated. So there."
Luke snickered at the brotherly exchange of words. He turned to Jared, put on an evil grin, and then put himself in front of his older brother, backed up to him so that they came together. He started grinding into Jared's crotch.
At the same time, Jordan, shivering cold entered the bathroom to see his boyfriend gyrating against his brother. Jordan, catching on, quickly said as he walked to the toilet, "Save some for me. Burr, fuckin, burr."
Luke felt a firmness pushing against his most private place. He giggled, "So, Big Brother, are you sure you're not interested?"
Jared countered, "Nice ass you got there, Bro. But, I'll pass."
All of the boys cracked up laughing. Jared blushed fiercely then left the room and headed for the motorhome to make sure the generator was working properly. When he exited the bunkhouse, he was surprised that the sun felt surprisingly warm to his face and hands, the only exposed skin.
John was standing at the rear of the coach with his hands placed strategically in front of him, front and center. He looked back to see Jared opening the generator compartment. John shook his thing three times and then worked his own elongated tool into the tight confines of his jeans.
Jared felt John's hand on his back. He continued to check the gauges. The fuel gage revealed only a quarter of the gasoline had been used since the previous morning. John said, "It's warming up. Did you sleep okay?"
"Pretty good, once I got warm. The bathroom tells a completely different story. But we're dealing. We're grateful to have a roof over our heads, Dad. I'm not complaining."
"This is not what I had planned, Son. It's the best we can do right now. Can you hold on for a few days?"
"Like I said, I'm not complaining. None of us are." Jared said, while standing straight up and closing the hatch door. John's arms went around his oldest son's shoulders and pulled him into a deep, deep hug to let him know that he was unconditionally loved. Jared, likewise, put his arms around John's midsection and held on firmly to let his dad know that he was loved in the same exact way.
Lawrence and Aaron arose, tossed on their clothes then headed outside to the rear of the rig to drain their cans. They saw Jared and John hugging, so they went to the other side, whipped them out and relieved themselves.
Jared said, "I love you, Dad. It's going to be okay. I'll get the fire started."
"Ask Lawrence and Aaron to help you gather firewood. They'll want to do something. They are one of us. They are no longer royalty." John snickered.
Jared looked sharply to his father, and said, protectively, "That's not true. They are my brothers."
"That's right. They are my sons. My sons help with chores, remember?"
Jared shrugged his shoulders but could think of nothing to say to counteract John's words, knowing all too well that they were true. He nodded then took off to find Lawrence and Aaron.
John entered the motorhome to roust Dalton and his youngest sons but they were already awake and moving about the cabin. Matthew went running toward John – John was ready for him. He scooped the happy child into his arms and then sat down next to Stephen and brought both boys into his side and hugged them as firmly as he dared. John knew Stephen has had the most difficult time acclimating to the newest changes the family was forced into, but he was a trooper.
Everybody knew Stephen was their hero, and treated him as such ever since they'd left the resort …
Sunday morning found all of the boys in the motorhome preparing for a trip into town to get provisions that would last them through the end of the next week. But the trip was not to happen. Instead, they ran for their lives for the investigators who were coming to interview each of them, individually, Lawrence concluded were there to shut them up, compliments of his father, Ex-President Ashwood.
When the men stormed the motorhome, John was showing the boys how to clean their weapons. While Aaron shoved the little kids to the floor, Lawrence, once he saw weapons brandished, took his and quickly and efficiently removed the life forces from four of them. One of the others pistol whipped John as he tried to do two things at once – first, to shield his sons, and secondly to grab his weapon.
John, severely dazed, but not totally out of commission, was able to lay atop Dalton and Matthew to protect them, all the while screaming to Stephen, Luke and Jordan to take cover.
Michael and Eric in the big bedroom at the back of the motorhome were making the bed and doing general cleanup tasks when the siege started. Their weapons had been placed in a cabinet in the bathroom, and they couldn't get to them. A bullet hit the door. Not knowing what else they could possibly do, they dove under the bed.
Two more shots rang out in quick succession. Lawrence took one of the remaining men out with a neck shot while Aaron took another out by shooting him in the chest then another one in the brain.
Stephen, seeing the cabin door open, quickly pointed his weapon toward the intruder and pulled the trigger, striking the man in the shoulder. Lawrence swiveled and just as the man raised his weapon met his maker as a shot tore through his skull causing him to fall backward onto the concrete with a massive thud.
Another man, outside, came running toward the motorhome. Stephen, seeing the man, slammed his body into Lawrence who was standing close to the entrance, then took aim and… but before he could take a shot the man drilled a bullet through the fleshy part of his upper thigh, just below his genitals. Undeterred, but in excruciating pain from the injury, he raised his weapon, but before he could fire off a shot, Jordan shoved him aside, quickly took aim and killed the man dead with a head shot.
Dalton, not knowing what else to do since his gun was in the motorhome bedroom locked up within a night stand, slammed his butt into the driver's seat, fired up the engine, then not even thinking, jerked the gear shift into reverse and revved up the engine, hoping against all hope to remove them from danger. But it was not to happen. A man came running at breakneck speed toward the coach. The man raised his weapon. With a stroke of genius, Dalton changed tactics – he threw the coach's transmission in drive, released the parking brake. Since his foot was buried in the accelerator, the coach lurched, jumped the curb, throwing everyone in the back to the floor or sprawled out from falling, and then took off for the man. Aaron crawled to the doorway, then jumped free, and at the same time took aim and fired a shot, but missed. At the same time, the man, fearful for his life, dropped to the ground to permit the motorhome to pass over him. What he did not expect to see was a boy lying on the ground with a weapon pointed directly at him, nor did he expect for his eyeball to receive a round directly aimed into it. He didn't know anything else for his head exploded and splattered brain substance, blood and bone splinters into the ground. What remained of his head spurted blood until his heart stopped.
By then the motorhome was aimed directly to the building. There was nothing anyone could do to stop the collision. The occupants were thrown forward upon contact.
Jared, dazed but cognizant, quickly looked around the room to find his father and brothers moaning with discomfort, and felt the motorhome lurching and crunching. Seeing that everyone was moving, he ran to the forward cabin where he wrestled the steering wheel away from Dalton and at the same time shut off the engine.
Dalton, terrified, quickly wrapped his arms around Jared and held on for dear life.
Aaron and Matthew recovered first. Aaron took Matthew and urged Luke and Jordan to the rear bedroom. Once they were in there, he returned to the main cabin to see John slowly removing his body from Stephen's. Stephen, terrorized, clutched his father's neck to the point of almost breaking it. It was then that Aaron saw Stephen's bloody jean leg. "Dad, Stephen's hurt. His leg."
John shook his head to clear away the daze. He quickly looked at Stephen's jeans to find them blood soaked. Aaron, meanwhile, with his weapon at the ready and fanning the exterior, descended the stairs to find Lawrence lying on the ground, facing away. His boyfriend was groaning in pain. Aaron swept the area with his weapon. Finding no immediate threat he dropped to the ground and turned Lawrence onto his back. It was then that he saw blood on his boyfriend's shirt, down low, just above the belt line. "Baby, I'm here. Don't die on me."
Aaron screamed, "Dad, Lawrence is hit. He's down."
"I'll be out in a minute!" John bellowed. At the same time, Michael and Eric scrambled from under the bed and raced into the main cabin to see John ministering to a bloody hole in Stephen's leg. John said, "I've got Stephen. Go see what's wrong with Lawrence. See if you can help. Aaron said he was hit." They tore out of the cabin, down the stairs and fell to the ground to offer support, and to determine how badly Lawrence was hurt.
John quickly removed Stephen's jeans to see a large caliber handgun bullet hole through the soft fleshy tissues adjacent to Stephen's testicle. He quickly checked pulses and found them to be intact. There was no active bleeding coming from the wound itself, but the boy's leg was swelling as he watched. He worried that a major blood vessel had been damaged, but also knew it would not be one of the major vessels that supply the leg with nutrients, and that his boy was not in a life-threatening situation. John lifted the boy and carried him to the bedroom, saying, "Stephen, stay here. Do not get up no matter what. I'll be back in a few minutes. Can you do this for me?"
Stephen nodded, but didn't say anything. John kissed the boy's cheek then quickly made his way outside, picking up a 9mm from the table on his way. He saw the children huddled around Lawrence. He also saw the blood soaked shirt. He went into full trauma-surgeon mode, fearing the worst, but expecting the best.
Jared took John's weapon, turned and faced the building. The determination to exact revenge was clearly etched in his expression.
John, seeing that Lawrence was awake and alert, although afraid, quickly picked the boy up and carried him into the coach, and then laid him down on a soft cushioned seat bench. He then lifted Lawrence's shirt only to see a gaping wound starting at his belly button and disappearing into his pants. With considerable assistance from his boys, he quickly removed the jeans and briefs to see an exit wound to the side of the upper hip bone prominence. He quickly examined Lawrence's belly and found it to be soft, not hard like a bleed into the belly would cause. "I don't think it went into me. I was stupid. This shouldn't have happened, damn it." Lawrence groused, berating himself.
Jordan quickly retorted, "You saved our lives. What are you talking about? You ain't stupid, you moron."
Everybody looked at Jordan as though he'd lost his last marble. He retorted, "There's a difference between stupid and moron." He then leant down and kissed Lawrence's lips, "You're going to be ok, Bro."
John determined the wound had not entered the interior of Lawrence's belly. It was a superficial wound and would require no emergent life-saving treatment. Much to Lawrence's chagrin, John told him to lay still and relax. Then John picked him up and carried him inside to lay beside Stephen, and said with clear and convincing authority in his voice, "You stay here. Don't move. Do you understand me?"
Knowing the other boys were in varying degrees of shock, he raised their shirts, lowered their jeans, and inspected them for injuries. Other than for bumps and bruises caused by being tossed around in the vehicle, they appeared otherwise uninjured.
He said, calmly and reassuringly, "Jared, see if this thing will move. If it does, take us to the clinic. Please. The rest of you, please sit down."
Dalton was slow to move. He said, "I'm sorry I wrecked us."
Aaron retorted, "You probably saved our lives, Dude. That I have no doubt about." He then took a crying Dalton to a seat and sat him down, kissed his cheek and whispered low enough so that nobody else could hear, "Thank you. You're very brave. You saved our lives. I have no doubt."
Jared was able to start the rig. John got out to survey the damage. Damage was minimal. He spotted Jared out of the abnormal parking place, then got in and rode to the clinic. He carried Stephen inside while Lawrence insisted on walking.
The clinic had no x-ray equipment. Although John wanted to know where exactly the bullet had lodged, he used standard basic physician skills of looking, listening and paying attention. The leg, he could see, had not swollen any further, that pulses were normal, and that Stephen was awake and alert, and did not appear to exhibit any signs of shock. The boy was afraid though, very afraid. John started an IV then injected a high-powered antibiotic into the tubing, then gave his son some pain medicine after once again making sure his blood pressure was high and that his pulse was steady and normal. He leant down and kissed the boy's lips and reassured him that he was going to be okay, that he wasn't going to die, and that his leg wasn't going to fall off. Stephen fell into a drug induced sleep.
John urged Lawrence onto the examination table. He quickly determined that his trauma examination was correct, and that the boy was in no danger. He started an IV then injected high-powered antibiotics, but Lawrence refused the pain medicine infusion, saying that he needed to stay strong, alert and fully aware of what was around him. He leant down and kissed Lawrence's lips and reassured him that he was going to be okay, though he would be sore for several days.
Lawrence reached for John's neck and pulled his face into John's ear and said, his voice wavering, "I told you my dad would get us. He won't stop at anything. Do you finally believe me?"
John mashed his face into Lawrence's neck and said, "Son, I would never have believed a man would do something like this to his own son. But, yes, I believe you."
"Stephen could have gotten killed because of me."
"No, Stephen's life, I am positive, was saved by your quick thinking. That goes for you, too, Aaron. All of you – I'm so proud. I'm so sorry this has happened, but we're going to be okay, trust me."
Lawrence continued, his voice steady but breaking, "Dad, we have to get out of here. We have to go somewhere where there is no radio comm, no GPS… we can't stay here. There will be more coming, I promise you he will not stop until I am dead."
John saw the stark raving fear in his son's eyes. From what had happened already, he knew Lawrence's words rang true, too true to write off as happenstance. He said, "Ok. We'll go."
They then heard a commotion outside of the operatory. Aaron, Luke, Jordan and Jared pointed their weapons toward the door and began slowly walking in that direction. Aaron silently gestured for the other boys to remain quiet and to stay where they were. He then crouched down low and inched his way to the front foyer area. Lawrence, against doctor's orders, hopped off of the table, grabbed his weapon from Dalton's belt loop and followed Aaron into the area. He heard voices, familiar ones at that.
Bea, her face flushed, walked by Aaron and Lawrence and entered the exam room to find two patients lying on tables with their wounds and everything else exposed to the elements. She gave John a stern expression then got bandages and two blankets, and used them to dress the wounds and to cover their essentials. John nodded, appreciatively.
They heard the outside door open then close. "Lawrence, Aaron?" John asked.
"They went outside, Dad." Jared responded.
Luke snickered, "Lawrence is naked."
Jordan chuckled, "So?"
"Where did they go?" John asked while walking to the front door. He exited. The boys were running to the main resort building. He shouted for them to stop, but they kept going, ignoring or not hearing him. They disappeared inside.
Bea said, "I'll take care of Stephen. What's the story on him?"
"He was shot. The bullet is somewhere inside his leg. I don't know where. But, he's stable. He's had antibiotics and pain medicine. If he awakens in pain, give him another 2 milligrams of Morphine, IV. I'll be back shortly. Boys, stay here. I'm not kidding around."
On the way out, John grabbed Lawrence's blood soaked shirt and his jeans. He quickly walked to the main resort building, scanned in, and found the boys in Mister Masters' office giving him holy fucking hell for putting them, or allowing them to be put into harms' way. The man tried to say something but when Lawrence stopped talking, Aaron tore into him saying that if it weren't for him then Lawrence and Stephen would not have been shot. He wasn't finished. He then lit into Mister Masters about the cameras scattered about their rooms. Lastly, he blasted away about the breaks in the security system that let Wayne and Eric disappear without being noticed.
They were saying what John was feeling, so he didn't stop their tirade until he saw Aaron's hand with the gun… twitching. Although the boys were not fully brandishing their weapons, John was concerned enough to say, "Ok, guys, that's quite enough."
But, it wasn't enough. Lawrence ripped off the bandage and showed his wound to Mister Masters, "This is superficial. My little brother, Stephen, took a bullet to his leg. He saved our lives. Where were your guys?" The steel in Lawrence's eyes was palpable. The room was thick with emotion and anger.
Mister Masters, after having been severely lashed started to say, "I'm…"
"Forget it. It's over. I fucking told you he would stop at nothing. Did you take me serious? Fuck no. Did you believe me? Fuck no."
John said, angrily, "That's enough. You do not talk to adults in that manner. Ever. Give me your gun. Aaron, you too. Do it. Now."
"I said now. If you are going to talk to an adult like he's not a human, disrespectful, you have no business holding a weapon. Don't argue."
The boys handed over their weapons. John gave Lawrence his clothing and said, "Go get dressed. Now."
They didn't argue. The intensity of John's glare and the tone of his voice put them into their places. John nodded. The boys took off to the restroom.
When they arrived, Lawrence ran to the toilet, knelt down and violently vomited his guts.
Aaron had killed before. He knew what Lawrence was experiencing for he had had the same reaction the first time. He realized that as far as killing, Lawrence had been spared of that ordeal.
John closed the door to Mister Master's office. He glared into the man's eyes and said forcefully, "I do not permit my sons to speak to an adult in such a manner, but, you Sir, from one adult to another, are a fucking moron. You put my children into danger, or if you did not actively do it, then you allowed them to be hurt and harmed. You shall pay. Do you fucking understand me?"
A knock on the door interrupted John's eruption. John loaded a round in the chamber to get Mister Master's attention. John stepped back behind the door as Mister Masters got up to see who was there. John raised the weapon and mentally prepared himself for anything.
The visitor was Marie. Mister Masters urged her inside and closed the door. She saw movement out of the corner of her eye. She about lost her cookies when John lowered the weapon and pointed it to the floor. It was obvious to John that nobody knew what had happened, and why was that, he wondered.
The buzzing sound coming from the phone interrupted the severely tense moment. John said, "Answer it."
Mister Masters, not leaving John out of his sight, pushed the intercom button and said, "Hello."
Peter Granger bellowed, "What the fucking hell is going on down there?"
"We've had a security breach, Sir."
End of Flashback
Jordan and Luke led their brothers through the field toward the tree line where they would gather up enough firewood to keep the fire going until the air temperature warmed up enough to take the chill out of the air. The bright morning sunshine felt really good.
Michael and Eric followed close behind. Lawrence and Aaron had Dalton between them to protect him from the cool air, and to prevent him from becoming cold. Dalton, it seemed, was most susceptible, John said, to regression into hypothermia than Aaron.
The tree line was about a quarter mile from 'camp'. The boys engaged in small talk and walked along. Jordan stopped first and peered to the ground. Luke's eyes opened wide at seeing a pile of weather worn bones with pieces of rotting flesh and muscle still attached to them. Jordan called, "Hey, we've found some bones!"
The other three boys arrived. Lawrence looked down, then, realizing there were more than one set of human remains, said, "Guys, those are human bones. Eric, would you go get dad? He needs to see them. Run. "
Eric wasted no time taking off, running as fast as he could. On the way, he tripped over a dried and dormant clump of weeds, fell to the ground. Due to his youth and vigor, he was up and at it, running just as fast.
He arrived at the motorhome, entered, then, while catching his breath, wheezed, "Dad, we found bones. Lawrence wants you to come. Hurry."
The boy waited patiently while John disentangled from Matthew and Stephen's forms. Dalton looking into John's eyes, silently asking for permission to join him.
The two little ones rubbed their eyes. John said, "You guys keep one another company. We'll be back in a few minutes."
Matthew then Stephen nodded and cuddled up into a ball of brotherly love. John pointed to a jacket lying on the main sofa. Dalton put it on. Together, they headed toward the tree line where they saw the boys standing and looking around down about the ground in a small circle.
Aaron, meanwhile, finished using the restroom and then, once the toilet successfully flushed, walked into the main cabin to observe the two youngest boys cuddled together and sound asleep. He looked out the window to see John and Eric walking across the field. He went to the bedroom, got a flannel shirt of John's, put it on, then quietly left the motorhome to see what they were up to. While the air was chilly, the sun felt good, and he didn't feel cold. He soon caught up with John and Eric. John put his arm around Dalton's shoulders, and would have done the same to Eric however Eric was running toward the gathering before he could do so.
Upon arrival, John recognized the bones... they were definitely human. Lawrence said, "We haven't touched them, Sir."
The bones were mostly denuded of flesh, surely from predator animals, however there was just enough skin to confirm they were human. By the long hair on their skulls, it was easy to determine they were young females, girls in their mid-teenage years. John stood silently while looking down. There was a faint troubling familiarity coursing through his veins. He looked to Jared. Jared, too, was intently taking in the scene before him. The boy then looked into John's eyes. John nodded then said to the group, "I think the best we can do is to bury the remains. They deserve to have a quiet resting place so let's give them just that."
Michael could see the heaviness in his dad's and brother's demeanor, however he didn't know why. A glancing thought of his sister, Amanda, passed through his mind, but it was fleeting and replaced by heavy manual labor as they dug a hole big enough to place the remains.
An hour or so passed. John assigned to himself the task of taking the remains, and as gently as possible, lowered them into the fresh graves. The boys then covered the remains with the dirt they had dug up. Dalton, Eric and Michael then stomped the ground to make it strong and tight.
Jared fashioned a cross from a few sticks and then stuck it into the ground near the head. At one time, before her boyfriend, who Jared hated with all his being, took them away, he and his sister were very close to one another. In his heart of hearts, the boy knew that he had just buried his sister.
John, meanwhile, took off for the woods where he sat down on a stump and lowered his head in prayer and sadness.
When Dalton, Eric, Michael, Luke and Jordan started heading toward their father, Jared said, "Leave him alone. He needs to be by himself."
All the boys looked to Jared with curiosity emanating from their eyes. They also saw that Jared was steadfast with his request, and that any argument would be pointless.
"Come on, guys, let's go get the firewood." Turning to Jared, Jordan continued, pointing upstream, "We'll go up there. I saw some broken down trees."
Jared nodded then all of them took off, following Jordan and Luke as they made their way through the field toward the tree line.
They were gathering arms filled with kindling and large enough branches when John appeared and started helping them by grabbing up larger trees that he thought would be good for a sustained fire. Michael, unable to stop himself, asked, "Dad, are you okay?"
"I'm better, Son."
"Are you sure? You don't look very good."
"I will be. I will be. Okay guys, this is a good bunch of wood. Later on we'll get some more but for right now this is enough." John said, forcing his voice to sound more optimistic and upbeat.
Using rocks, large and small, they built a fire pit. Luke, using his Scouts training quickly had a small fire going which turned into an inferno. The heat coming off of it was intense.
Luke, needing to use the bathroom, took hold of Jordan's hand and said, "I need to use the can. We'll be back in a little while." They got up and headed inside. Matthew and Stephen were putting on clothes when they entered. After some horseplay, the little ones went outside, leaving Luke and Jordan to themselves. Luke entered the bathroom, lowered his pants, sat down, and said to Jordan who had followed and was standing in the doorway, "We can't say anything. Promise me you won't."
"No problem. Maybe someday they'll want to talk about it." Jordan replied while Luke finished up. After flushing, Jordan attended to his business.
When they heard the door open and the sound of voices, Luke left Jordan to do what he needed to do and went into the main cabin to see what was up. John looked intently into Luke's eyes. Luke felt like he was being stripped naked by the expression given him by his new dad. Luke cleared his throat. Had he not just peed … Not knowing what else to do, he nodded, solemnly, walked to John and said very softly, "Dad, we didn't know."
John reached his arms out to Luke. The boy readily accepted them as his heart was about to slide down into his feet. John said, "I know. I know, Son." The man then kissed Luke's temple and then walked toward the restroom and entered to see Jordan finishing up with his chore. John entered and closed the door behind him. Normally he gave the boys their privacy, however he wanted to speak with the boy alone, uninterrupted.
The very last thing that Jordan wanted to do was to hurt John. But, he could see the hurt already in John's eyes. Jordan approached. John reached out his arms. Jordan readily accepted them. His father, the only father he ever knew, said, "Son, I do not want you feeling guilty. What was done to you was not under your control. Knowing that you and Luke were and are together as partners, as soul mates, tells me that you were forced into a situation through the use of drugs and other things that took your choices away. I need to ask you a question. Please be honest with me."
Jordan broke the hug, but John kept his hands on Jordan's shoulders and asked, "Was there a guy named Charles at the camp?"
Jordan readily nodded, "Yes, Sir. He and Amanda were boyfriend and girlfriend. At least I think so. They acted like it, anyway."
John nodded and kissed Jordan's temple and solemnly asked, "Did you see her hurt?"
"Not when we were there. No, Sir."
"Okay. That's good. I need to ask a favor of you. It is a big request."
"Sure, anything. You know everything about me." Jordan said, then wrapped his arms around John's waist and hugged tightly. John did likewise. They parted.
John spoke, "Would you please keep this between you, Luke and myself, at least for right now. Matthew and Stephen… they are going to take some time. Maybe when they get older… but not right now. I need to talk to Jared, too. We're not keeping secrets, Son. There is just a right time, and now is not it."
"Sure. I'll tell Luke."
"Son, if you need to talk about it, I'll talk to you anytime of the day or night. I need to ask you one very important question." Jordan nodded into John's chest. He made no motion to move away. It felt very good to be hugged. He relished the closeness. "Are you still having nightmares?"
Jordan shrugged his shoulders, "Not very often. I haven't had one since we got here. Luke isn't either. I'd know if he was having them."
John said, "Now that we know everything – if you have them, would you wake me up. There's a good chance you will need to talk some more about what happened. Would you do this for me?"
Jordan nodded his understanding and agreement. "Luke has them, too. He can talk to you, too, right?"
"Of course. Always. Anytime."
John hugged Jordan very tightly then released and looked into his son's eyes, "Here's the plan for today. We don't have much, but we're going to fix up a meal to celebrate Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for. We're here. We're together. This is what matters."
Two hours later found the Finnegan family gathered around the cabin table. The mood, despite the revelations made that morning, was much more upbeat. Getting everybody around the small table was a feat in and of itself. Jordan and Luke shared one of the small kitchen table chairs. Lawrence and Aaron shared another. Jared sat in the last one with Matthew and Stephen sitting on his knees. John sat on the padded bench seat with Dalton by his side.
When everyone was comfortable, John said, "Boys, despite everything that we've experienced over the past few weeks and months, we're here right now, together as a family. We have much to be grateful for. What I would like for us to do is this: as we eat our dinner, please share a few things that you are thankful for right here, today, right now. I'll start us out.
"First of all, we are here together right now. We're safe. Nobody has yet gone hungry. We have shelter. We're on an adventure; the likes of which we've never known before. Each day begins a new chapter in our lives.
"Second, we're healthy.
"Third, as far as I am concerned, each of you are heroes. You've done things and have handled situations that completely boondoggle my mind in that you've taken them on without hesitation. Despite your young ages, you've shown a level of maturity that surprises me.
"Now… now, while we still have challenges ahead of us, you guys are still boys. As such, I expect to see you guys acting like children. When we get our own place, and I anticipate this happening very quickly – perhaps as early as this coming weekend, then I expect you guys to relax and just let things happen. I know you can do it. I'll make sure you have the opportunities to be the person you are. Jared, since you are the oldest, you're next."
Jared nodded. "Truthfully, Dad, I do not mean this to sound bad or anything, but our lives were pretty boring. Everything was pretty well predictable. And, Dad, you were working too hard. Although we did okay and didn't complain … let me clarify – we had nothing to complain about … we missed you.
"Everything came to a head when we were expelled from school. I still do not understand why we got in trouble. Michael was getting the crap beat out of him. I couldn't let them continue. The school sent the wrong message … I feel that they condoned, in a way, what happened to him. So, I'm glad we were kicked out.
"Then along came Luke, Jordan and Lawrence. Our lives have not been the same since. (The three boys nodded their agreement, smiling).
"When we rescued Dalton and Lawrence, and oh God I was so afraid for their very lives … well, I saw how each of us rallied together, and how much we cared for them, without their asking. I love each of you. Thanks for being a part of our lives." Jared finished, wiping his eyes dry of tears as his emotions, happy emotions, began spilling onto his shirt. John patted his back. Jared finished by saying, "I love you guys." He then looked to Jordan.
Jordan said, "Yeah, I'm in. I feel the same way. I'm grateful that you didn't kick us out … you know, for being gay and stuff. John, I'm sorry for what I did. I've never had a dad. I just figured, and I don't know why, well, never mind. I was wrong. Now, I have a dad who loves us regardless of what we've done. _(Jordan giggled then continued,)_You should have seen the expression on your face when Luke and I showed up in your operating room the day Lawrence had his operation."
John smirked, "Yeah, you guys looked like a couple of hooligans. The smell was horrible."
Jordan continued, "Yup. You could have kicked us to the curb, but you didn't. That was when I learned that I could trust you." The boy reached up and wiped away a tear threatening to leak from his right eye. He looked to Luke.
Luke leant in and kissed Jordan's cheek, then said, "He's right. Me, too. I did have a dad. He did something I never thought he ever would do. We had a pretty kewl family. Everything went to hell when Mom took off. The thing is though, that I would have never met Jordan had we continued our lives as they were going. One of the things I learned, and I didn't understand it before we got together, is that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes, excuse my language, shit has to happen so that we know when good things come along.
"I, too, thank you for taking us in and giving us a home and family. I love you all." Luke then looked to Lawrence.
Lawrence picked up, "I don't know where to start. Before I count my blessings, I need to apologize for turning your lives upside down. I didn't intend on it happening. But, I'm coming around to see what Luke said about bad things happening for a reason. My father is a very bad man. He's done some very horrific things to many, many people." John started to open his mouth but Lawrence said, "Let me finish, please. If it wasn't for his stuff, then we wouldn't be here today. And, I wouldn't have Aaron. Anyway, I'm very thankful for your taking us in. You've also put your lives at risk for us. I cannot thank you enough." Lawrence then turned to Aaron.
Aaron said, "That's true. Dalton, I need to say something. To be very honest, when we stopped and went to sleep … I never thought we'd wake up again. I was okay with that. My last thought before cuddling into your back and closing my eyes to go to sleep was that at least we weren't dying alone. I just wanted to say that. Now, I'm grateful that we didn't die. We were rescued by angels.
"When I awakened in that emergency room and saw Lawrence, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I never wanted to come back to Earth if that was true. Dad's right – here we are all together as a family. Aaron turned to John. I know that I'm still afraid that this is all a dream and that I'll wake up one day and find that none of this happened. At the same time, I know this, what we now have, is real, very real. I'm thankful more than you'll ever know." Aaron nodded, convinced his words were as true as none before. He looked to Eric.
Eric took in a deep breath. He looked to John then to each of his new brothers, and finally to Michael. Michael smiled. Eric then turned his complete attention to John and said, "I did some stupid stuff when you and I first met." John started to open his mouth but Michael glared at him, sending a message to let Eric share his heart. Eric continued, "I'm no longer like that. I don't do those things. Why you ask? Because my family has taught me that sex is not love. Love includes sex, but putting our bodies together is not everything. You guys have shown me what real love is and what it can be. So, I thank you.
"As far as my back is concerned, well, Michael kisses it each and every night. He tells me that the cross does not define who and what I am, that I'm not damaged goods, that it will heal, that I'm just the person he was looking for all of his life. I can tell you that without Michael I would have died a thousand deaths. My family, here, you guys, have kept me from dying two thousand deaths. One more thing, Eric reached down and petted Dog's coat, earning his hand a thorough licking no matter what they did, I never lost hope that someday I'd be loved and would be able to love." Eric looked into Michael's eyes and saw them fill with tears. He smiled then reached his hand over and wiped them away as though his fingers were squeegees.
Michael, once he found his voice actually worked, said, "When we first got together, when we'd sleep, I would wake up crying, thinking what you've been through, all the pain you experienced, and how you'd been defiled. Then, because you were lying beside me, I'd thank my lucky stars and the Universe for your being right there with me. I've promised myself that I'd do everything in my power to make sure your life is happy and contented. Eric started to say something, but Michael put his fingers to Eric's lips and continued When those guys at school were beating me up, before Jared got to them, I died a few of those thousand deaths that you talked about. You see, and I don't know why but I didn't feel safe with sharing my truth with my family. I knew they'd love me no matter what, but, nevertheless, I had doubts.
"I'm grateful for everything. A year ago, I would never have thought that we'd be sharing thanksgiving dinner in a motorhome in a remote area. We were very comfortable in our home. We had everything we needed, and then some, but, Dad, please don't take this the wrong way – there was something missing in my life. Now, there isn't. I'm a very lucky guy."
Michael turned his attention to Dalton. Dalton cleared his throat. His voice, thick with emotion, said, "Ditto for me. I was on the streets for a short time before being picked up by the bad guys. Aaron, I feel as you do … when I woke up in the emergency room, I thought I'd died and came to life somewhere else. Well, I did come to life somewhere else – here. With a family who loves me. With a family I love. I'm still afraid. Those people were ruthless in everything they did and said. I will admit that you, Dad, and you, my brothers, are just as ruthless, but it is in a completely different way – instead of pain and shame, you bring me peace. For this I am very, very grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Stephen, unprompted, said, "Dad, in a way, Mom told me this was going to happen. She said that things were going to change, that I was stronger than I felt, and that love conquers all. And it has. And it will. I don't know what else to say, except thank you." Stephen reached across Jared's lap and kissed Matthew's cheek, and whispered, "Your turn, lil' Bro."
Matthew smiled brightly and said, "Well, duh. I don't understand very much of what you've talked about, but I feel the love in this room. That's it."
By the time everyone had spoken their truth and feelings, the meal was cold, but they managed to choke it down. The conversation was small-talk and was used to belay the gut-wrenching, horrific food. There were leftovers. Thus far, the highlight of the day was the Twinkies.
Cleanup was quick. John gathered up the remnants of the meal into a bowl then put it on the floor. Dog's eyes lit up. Without hesitation, she approached the bowl of table scraps then turned her snout away and looked to John with a pathetic expression on her face. She backed away from the bowl and laid down at Jordan's feet.
"Okay guys, get it together. We're going to take a road trip. It will take us a few hours to get there, in fact we probably won't arrive until after dark.
The boys looked to John with curiosity emanating through their expressions. John remained mum. Because they didn't have many things to get together, they were soon ready to embark on yet another journey.
Within the hour, they were on the road heading toward Breckenridge. John had a surprise for them. First though, he'd wanted all of the kids to have a chance at saying what was in their hearts. He felt confident that the next piece of the journey would be taken well and in stride.
The boys were busy playing card games while John drove the vehicle. At the outer limits of town, John's heart began sinking at seeing all of the collateral damage to the town they had called home for so many years. The closer to town they got, the damage was becoming all encompassing.
"Dad, what the hell? Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God." Jared exclaimed through the entrance to the driver's section of the rig. He quickly jumped into the passenger seat and looked into the side of John's face.
Matthew, Eric, Michael, and Luke entered and watched, completely taken aback by the destruction. Aaron and Lawrence joined them. Lawrence, trying so hard to maintain his composure, said brokenly, "My father… but why? Why would he do this?"
Luke, completely unaware of his choice of words, said, "Bro, he's fucking crazy homicidal idiot."
John started to admonish Luke's choice of words, but found the boy's sentiments to be the same as his own. He said, "I couldn't agree with you any more, even if I tried."
The first stop was the abandoned Walmart store. Quite a few people were milling about. When they entered the building, the town folk acknowledged their presence and made them feel at home, and urged them into the area that had once been the camping and fishing section at the back of the building.
Several people were sitting at tables, engaged in chit-chat, and eating what appeared to be great food. Fox and Jimmy approached the family. John knew of them, but had never really met them in a social setting. John hadn't seen Jimmy since his wife, John's patient, had passed away from ravages of cancer. Jimmy said, "It's good to see you, Doc. It's been a while."
"Yes, it has. It's good to see you, too. Come on, come on, we can't let the food get cold. Help yourself; all of you."
John smiled then turned to his boys and said, "Eat hearty. Before you get all over me for feeding you inedible pig slop… you all did exactly what I thought you would do – although the meal was horrible, the love and honesty shared by one and all was bountiful. Go ahead, load up. Enjoy."
The boys took off for the food table and began shoveling food onto two plates apiece. John snickered. Fox and Jimmy smiled warmly.
Matt and James exited the restroom to see their fathers standing talking to a man they barely recognized. Realization came into James' head. The man was the doctor who had taken care of his mother during her illness. All during the illness he was angry because he didn't think the doctors, nurses and hospital was doing enough.
His anger was short lived as Father Mott came walking very slowly toward them. Knowing they were there to help the man load up and carry his plates to the table, they quickly headed for him and led the priest to the food table.
The Finnegan boys, almost completely oblivious to all that surrounded them, scooted aside to give the elderly man room to navigate. Father Mott smiled at their exuberance. He didn't want to break their cycle, but, at the same time his joy at seeing them again spilled over into his voice, "Well, hello there. It's so good to see you again."
All eyes quickly shifted to the man. Although Father Mott had several bandages on his face, making him almost unrecognizable, the boys, immediately, knew who he was. John, standing several feet away, busily talking with Jimmy and Fox, looked up to see his children surrounding a man he barely recognized. The last news John had received was that the man was surely killed from the blast and destruction at the hospital. He said, "Excuse me."
He quickly walked to his boys. Father Mott looked up and into John's eyes. He smiled warmly then extended his arm. The two men embraced warmly, gently. The priest said, "I don't know why I'm still here, but I'm grateful to see you guys again. It's been a while. A lot has happened. God has brought us together again. I need to talk to you … but it can wait until you can partake of this wonderful meal that has been provided us. A blessing."
John, finished with his meal, followed Father Mott to an area of the building. The smell of rubbing alcohol and medicine filled his nostrils. The smells got stronger the closer they got to a cordoned off area that would typically be the automotive section in a normal Walmart store.
Doctors Goldblatt, Harvey, and Helling were sitting behind a table, a makeshift desk. They looked up to see John looking at them with curiosity. Once again John was shocked to see medical personnel survivors of the hospital's holocaust. Each of the doctors stood and approached John. They shook hands.
Doctor Helling said, "We heard you were coming this way for the festivities. We sure wanted to meet with you to give you an offer, if you have decided to stay here."
John replied, "Actually, we are headed north to Oklahoma. A friend we met along our journey offered us a place to stay. It's a new beginning. Our home here in Breckenridge was destroyed beyond salvage."
Doctor Harvey offered, "John, the people here are going to rebuild. We're going to be a part of it. A few days ago, the Governor came through. He saw and felt the determination in our town. A couple of days ago, a group of men came in and put together a M. A. S. H. type medical facility. Although it is rather primitive, compared to what we once had, it is workable. We'd like for you to stay."
John thought for a moment before saying, "For the past week to week and a half, I've had my boys in a motorhome that is way too small for us. I'm sorry, but I've got to get them into better living conditions. I just have to. They've been through so much."
"I understand. What if I could get you living quarters?"
John furrowed his eyebrows while contemplating the offer. Finally, he said, "Two of my boys are from a situation that require… uhmm… how do I say it – protection from the outside world. There are people out there who want to hurt them."
Doctor Goldblatt spoke up, "Here in Breckenridge? Are they here?"
"I doubt it." John said, then thought about the situation, giving it some real estate in his mind. His next thought was, 'Do you really think Ashwood would think that he would bring Lawrence back to where it all started?'
Doctor Helling added, "John, many of the families, mostly older couples, have moved on, abandoning their properties. I'm sure one of the properties will meet your needs. We'd like to have you stay. We've been busy, very busy."
"I appreciate your offer. I will think about it. But, first, I must speak with my children. If they are afraid, then I'll have to decline your offer."
When John returned to the food area, he saw his boys, James Lancaster and Matt Foxridge talking amongst themselves. John approached the table. Jared said, "Dad, James was with me when Michael was attacked. He fought for my brother. We were just talking. He said that things have changed here. Some good. Some not so good."
Michael popped up, "He apologized for not getting to us sooner. He didn't need to, but I've accepted his apology."
Matt spoke up, "I'm gay. A bunch of us are as well. If we stick together… well, like Michael said, things are much different now."
James nodded. "Me, too. I didn't tell anyone simply because I was afraid of what people would think. Now, not so much."
"Thank you very much. I appreciate your help you gave to my son. It could have turned out much, much worse than it already was. Boys, I would like to talk to you, privately. Let's go to the motorhome so that we can be alone."
All were agreeable. Matt and James got up from the table and headed toward the front entrance. When they arrived, they looked all around for any sign of threats. They, too, were a bit cautious and curious about any outsiders that came to their town. Assured everything appeared normal, they met the Finnegan family as they approached the doors.
Inside the motorhome, John, once everybody was settled, said, "Boys, we have an opportunity to return here. Things are much different than they were, meaning Breckenridge is probably only a distant memory to those who brought destruction to our town."
When John saw a trace of terror in Lawrence's eyes, he said, "Lawrence, I had the same reaction. One of the doctors, a colleague mentioned that Breckenridge would be the least likely place on earth for those people to return to. We've been running incognito for over a week, almost two. My very first thought was to not come back. Then I got to thinking … we've been running. Are we going to run for the rest our lives? If we do that then Ashwood has won the war. If he's won the war then he's broken our spirit. Boys, give it some thought. We don't have to make a decision right now."
Jordan spoke up, "Uhmm, you said we were taking a trip … where to?"
"Adam's lakefront property in Oklahoma. It is now Tony's place. He's giving it to us. We thought this would be the perfect place to hide out."
Jared asked, "Where would we stay? Here in the motorhome?"
"There are people, mostly older residents, who abandoned their properties when they left town. Maybe we could look at a few of them?"
Luke added, "Dad, I don't think any of us want to live where Adam lived. I mean, what if… what if he…"
"Had cameras set up all over the place … it's too creepy." Michael finished Luke's question.
"Tony knows quite a bit of what is behind the story. I know things that you do not know, nor do you have a reason to know. I assure you the house will be, if it has not already been thoroughly scanned, and everything and anything that is needed for evidence will be – removed."
"Dad, why were you and Uncle Adam estranged all these years?"
John contemplated for a moment before responding, "He and I have been down this path before in a previous lifetime. He assured me that was in the past, that he'd changed, and that he'd never do anything to hurt or harm me or my family ever again. That is not true."
"Do you think living in his house would be creepy, Dad?" Michael asked.
"Maybe. Maybe not." John replied, honestly. "I think we'd be okay. I really do. I wouldn't have mentioned it if I didn't think so."
Aaron piped in, "Dad, I'm willing to go along with anything you decide. I can speak for all of us – you're going to keep us safe. We weren't safe because a leak in the system gave away our location. Too many people knew where we were." Aaron put his arm around Lawrence's shoulders and said very softly, "Dad's right. We can't run forever."
Jordan, his eyes lighting up, said, "What about Witness Protection?"
John quickly answered, "First, the system has to be trusted for that to work. Right now, the system sucks. I don't trust it as far as I can throw it."
"True that." Lawrence replied. His expression registered contemplation and deep thought. "You're right. We can't keep running. If we run, then we'll always be looking back over our shoulders."
Luke, contemplating everything that'd been said thus far, added, "Jordan, we were running away from where we thought it was bad. We ran from Katy's. We ran into John's family which was a really good thing."
Lawrence piped up when Jordan stopped speaking, "You don't know my father. He will stop at nothing. He won't sleep until I'm found and probably killed. I know too much for him to just sit idle and let me get away. I think we as a family would be better off at that lake house."
Aaron countered, "Then we'd just be running. What then? Where would we go?"
Meanwhile, Matt had an idea. An older couple who lived one mile south of them had not been heard from since the explosions and destructions in the city. He said to James, "Come on. We need to go check on the Miller's."
Fox's eyes widened with surprise in his expression. "That's a very good idea. Let's go. They're really nice people."
Jimmy nodded his agreement.
The four loaded up in Jimmy's truck and they headed south toward the Miller farmstead to check on their neighbors.
Forty minutes later, they entered the driveway, drove to the house only to find no vehicles anywhere. The place was in good repair. Fox saw a white piece of paper hanging on the window to the door leading into the kitchen. He walked up the steps and took down the note and read it. It read, "We give the house to the city of Breckenridge. We're too old to work this property. Please give it to someone who can use it, or sell it on the courthouse steps for whatever it will bring. Donate the proceeds to a town rebuilding fund. Jessup and Ladonna Miller."
Matt and James bounded up the stairs to see what Fox was doing. He said, "If they are agreeable then this is probably a good place for them."
Jimmy walked up the stairs. Fox showed him the paper signing over the house to whomever or the auction block.
Matt reached for the door knob and turned it, half expecting it to be locked, but it easily opened. He looked at his Pa and silently asked for permission to enter.
All four of them entered. The house was immaculately clean and tidy. It was fully furnished with old antique sofas, chairs, dressers, made over entertainment center. The bedrooms were spacious and fully furnished, sans clothing in the seven bedrooms that would be for children. The master bedroom was very large, spacious, and filled with antique dressers, bed with a canopy and metal posts.
The main upstairs bathroom had an old-time double sink vanity, a bathtub with painted white cast iron 'legs'. The interior linen closet had hand-engraved designs and was hand painted antique white.
Matt walked to the toilet and flushed it. He grinned. "They would even have indoor plumbing. Dad, we need to do that. I could help."
Fox grinned. "We'll talk about it – later."
The boys were curious as to where beds were kept in the children's bedrooms. Jimmy grinned, walked to a double door. He opened the left one to find it was a normal clothes closet. He opened the other door, grasped a handle and with some effort lowered the bed so that the legs would rest on the floor. He then looked to James and said, "This is old time stuff. I had the same type of bed when I was growing up. Cool. Very cool."
The pantry was filled to capacity. The refrigerator, a modern one, was filled with frozen foods, bottled juices, butter and lard, potatoes, onions, green and red peppers that were still good. The cupboards had good and everyday plates, bowls, saucers, salt and pepper shakers, and a set of plastic bowls for mixing goodies.
The lower cupboards had cleaning supplies, paper and plastic trash bags, and plenty of pots and pans to cook for a tribe.
Yes, there was some musty odors emanating, but they would quickly dissipate once the house became lived in again.
Satisfied the house would be a perfect place for a fairly large family, they took off for the garage. Its size would easily fit two cars inside. A side door was opened. Matt entered followed by James. A 2006 Chevy Silverado crew cab pickup truck was parked inside.
Jimmy and Fox entered. They noted that even though many of the tools were gone, there were still enough to take care of an average repair job. The truck had the keys in the ignition. Fox seeing what Matt was about to do quickly opened the large garage door. Matt fired up the engine. It sounded sweet. He shut it off then got out and closed the door. It sounded solid. Everything about it looked fine.
Fox went back inside the house. On the large antique oak table were two sets of keys. He checked the kitchen door lock. A key opened it. He put them into his pocket.
Once the house was secured they took off for town. Just as they turned the corner that led onto the main road they saw John's motorhome going opposite direction, out of town. Jimmy made a U-turn and caught up to the rig and began flashing his headlights to get John's attention. John pulled the rig to the side of the road.
He and the men met up outside. The boys all exited the rig and joined Matt and James emptying their bladders onto the side of the road, using the rig as a shield from the few cars and trucks passing by.
Jimmy and Fox gave enough details to John to get him interested. By the end of the 'sell job', the boys were gathered around, listening carefully. They could see and sense hesitancy in John's expression, but they said nothing, other than looking at their Dad with curiosity emanating through their eyes.
Meanwhile, John was valiantly but silently arguing pros and cons. On one hand, he didn't want, or would do whatever it took to keep them safe, and if this meant they needed to squat here and there for a while, then it was okay, he'd do it. On the other hand, he and the boys needed stability in their lives. The past few weeks had been filled with nothing more than turmoil and uncertainty, mostly turmoil. Lawrence was turned with his back toward John. Aaron, standing beside him, was looking off down the road, completely oblivious to their new dad's uncertainty.
Only Jordan was looking toward John. Their eyes met. They stood there for a couple of minutes before the other boys noticed silent communication between man and boy. No words were said.
Jordan unclasped his hand from Luke's, walked to John. He said, "Uhmm, Dad can we talk for a moment?"
John nodded. They went to the rear of the rig. They looked into one another's eyes. Jordan said, "Dad, wherever we go will be okay. Lawrence is afraid to call anywhere home. He doesn't know what it means to be just an everyday family. I only know what an everyday family looks like because I've been with you guys and have watched very carefully. So long as we're together, everything will work out. Anyway, I just wanted to say that. That's all."
The man, unable to find the words to say, reached for and took Jordan into his arms and hugged the boy close.
Ten minutes later found them following Jimmy's truck out of town and into the boonies of the Texas landscape. The mood inside of the motorhome had transformed from morose and curious to slight excitement. Dog's ears perked up and her snout raised at the different scents entering her nose.
When John stopped the rig in the driveway of the old farmhouse, Dog began scratching at the door to be let out. Matthew honored Dog's unspoken request. As soon as she was outside, she tore out to circle the property. She hadn't done that for the resort.
As the group got out of the rig and began walking to the house, Dog came tearing up the path toward them. She stopped on a dime in front of Jordan. Her eyes, crystal clear, were shining brightly and intently. He said, excitedly, "Dog is happy here."
With that proclamation made, the group walked up the steps. Jimmy opened the door and urged the family to enter. They did so. All stopped in the kitchen-dining room entryway. The dining room was a formal affair. The furniture cast off the smell of lemon oil from years of being carefully maintained.
The dining room led into another room on the south side of the house. Lawrence closed his eyes after seeing a beautiful Baby Grand piano sitting in the corner. It was spotlessly shined to its rich natural colors. It had been a very long time since he'd seen one that beautiful. John saw Lawrence's reactionary expression, as did the others. When he opened his eyes, all could see that tears were just beneath the surface. And, no, those weren't sad tears.
For no other reason, seeing Lawrence's reaction and the boy's reaction to him, he made up his mind to keep looking at the house, even though his decision to stay there was already solidified in concrete. He said, "Let's check out the rest of the house, shall we?"
That met with everyone's approval. They walked from room to room eyeing this and that and everything, but they didn't notice that Jimmy, Fox, James, and Matt had exited the house and stood by Jimmy's truck, waiting.
Because the driveway looked down over a valley, they noticed two cars and a truck approaching from the dirt road. Jimmy, having heard just enough of the family's story filled with uncertainty and elements of danger, automatically reached into his truck, retrieved a loaded shotgun, undid the safety and held the weapon in his hand at the level of his waist. James reached for the other one located on the passenger side.
However, they needed not to worry. As the vehicles got closer, one of them carried Father Mott with the Walcott family. Another carried all three physicians that had set up shop in town. The last belonged to newly appointed sheriff, Bill Granter, a well-respected man who had lived all his life in the community. Jimmy and James quickly and safely stowed their weapons.
Inside, the family moved from room to room drinking in the beauty and feeling its powerful draw on each of them.
Luke said, whispering, "This is completely awesome." Each of the boys, in his own way, echoed Luke's sentiment.
John relaxed considerably. His worry lines disappeared. "Well, boys, pick out your bedrooms. Stephen, Matthew that goes for you, too. Pick one for your very own room. Dalton, that goes for you, too. The couples get to choose theirs. There are plenty of rooms to go around, but I get the master bedroom at the end of the hall."
Luke and Jordan chose a corner room. It was painted in light blue pastels with hand-painted borders around all of the walls. The bed, which they found behind what appeared to be a closet door was a double. And it had feather filled pillows and mattresses. They lowered the legs to the floor then sat down and found it to be incredibly soft and inviting. Luke reached across Jordan's lap and grasped his boyfriend's pole of pleasure and gave it a gentle squeeze just to let Jordan know that, if the house became theirs, then they WOULD christen it with their love in the most intimate way they knew. Jordan grasped Luke's appendage, squeezed firmly and said, "Yessirreee… I'm ready. I never, ever want to go almost two weeks without making love with you. Yip. Yip. Yip. Tonight, babe. I'm all yours."
"We're a long way from California."
"No, we're further away from Las Vegas, dufus."
Jordan laughed hard. He nearly fell of the bed. When he somewhat recovered, he used his fingers to thump Luke's noggin and said, "California is a lot further away from here than Las Vegas. Don't you know your geography?"
"I was just testing you."
"I think I like it here. Besides, wherever we are I have you."
Luke didn't say a word. Instead he arranged himself so that he was facing the love of his life. The boys leant in together and joined their lips and arms.
John was silently watching from the doorway. His heart filled with good feelings, love and peace at seeing the boys finally relaxing. He hadn't seen them so close since before they'd left Breckenridge. He remembered how, each morning, he went to check on the boys downstairs in the basement, and how their arms and legs were intertwined into a maze. He stepped away and very quietly closed the door when their hands went to their private areas. He grinned.
He walked toward the bedroom that Lawrence and Aaron had chosen to be theirs. They were sitting on the bed, talking very quietly. Both were oblivious to his presence, however he could see their faces. They seemed to be relaxed, more relaxed than he'd ever seen them.
He walked downstairs after seeing that all of the boys were preoccupied with putting things exactly where they wanted them to be. John approached Jimmy and Fox, and said, "What do we need to make things final?"
"I have no clue." Fox replied.
Jimmy offered, "You'll need to take the note signed by Missus and Mister Miller to the county deeds office. They'll tell you what to do from there. So, I take it you like the place?"
"Yes. The boys have fallen in love with the place, as well." John said, then turned to the managing partner of the physician group and asked, "When do I start?"
Meanwhile, upstairs, locked into their bedroom, Jordan urged Luke to stand. He looked to the door then into Luke's eyes. Without a word he urged Luke to strip while he removed his clothing. They stood there completely bared to the world, joined their arms together, laid down on the soft bed and proceeded to … entertain one another … as only two adolescent boys in love know how to do.
I am glad they found a place to call home, and they are a family and there is plenty of love to go around.
I realize there is still the possibility of danger coming their way, but I believe there are enough people round them who care about them and will do their best to protect them.
Darryl AKA The Radiorancher