Never Give Up
Our holiday was wonderful and we all arrived back refreshed and ready to take on the real world again. Mike and Debs would have their wedding on the beach so we started to prepare for it. I got the designs off to Mr Zimmerman's workroom.
Dan would be best man while Luke and Trent will be groomsmen, Donny page boy and I, Tom and Jamie will do the readings.
The kids are in charge of planning the wedding, God save us.
I heard Deb scream, "Are you nuts, a parachute with me wearing a Cody Mitchell original?"
I smiled, when Debs sees her frock she won't want to sit in a car let alone jump out of a plane, but it's all good I think, I know what the boys are up to and I wish the press could be there to see it.
Mum came by and brought us up to date with the charity, they were nearly full up and she was wondering if Dan and I would take in a small boy for a few months just until his mum got back on her feet. "He's only three Cody and very shy, he's been through so much in his young life, his mum is a junkie but we have her in rehab and he's too young to be left with the other kids."
"What's his name mum?" Dan asked.
"Timothy Doolen, he's a beautiful green eyed boy Dan but his mum has done some shocking things to him. He has cigarette burns on his back, they will heal but we still don't know if he's been affected by it, there are no signs as yet."
I said, "When can we meet him mum?"
"He's with another family for a few days, they already have three foster children and are finding having Timmy hard. I will get April to pick him up tomorrow if it's okay with you both that is?"
"Okay mum, can we call you first thing in the morning, I have some things to talk over with Codes," Dan said.
"Sure Dan, just keep in mind it's temporary, he's a sweetheart and we are trying everything to get his mum back on track."
"Okay mum, we will talk and Codes will call you in the morning."
That night neither of us wanted to talk about Tim, my stomach was full of butterflies, he would be our first foster child and I had so many questions and so many doubts. I can't get mad at his mum because I don't know her but what kind of fucked up human does that to their son?
"Codes what are you thinking about?"
"Fucked up druggies Dan."
"Okay, what do you think about fostering Timmy?"
"It's a given Dan, theres no way we will turn him away, I just hope it's not too late."
"My next question might upset you so move closer."
I snuggled into his mighty chest and he said,
"Could you give him back?"
I waited forever trying to find an answer but it didn't come.
He kissed my head and said,
"It's okay Codes, I feel the same."
I was in love instantly with a little boy I had never met, how could I tell Dan that? Then he said.
"I feel I already know him Codes."
I felt a tear drop on my face and wiped my eyes but it wasn't mine.
We snuggled more then went to sleep.
I made the call next morning and by three there was April at the door holding a green eyed undernourished little boy. He looked so frightened my heart sank, she came inside and I had made sure the family weren't home, I didn't want too many people around as that may confuse him.
He held onto April while she tried to get him used to us, his little eyes wide looking at the beach. Dan went and got a bucket and spade and he asked if he wanted to make some sandcastles, he sort of looked at me then Dan and nodded so April put him down. Dan took his hand talking to him all the time and they sat on the sand. I talked more with April and she confirmed my suspicions that his mum was too far gone to have him back, they might have to put him up for adoption, but she warned me that straight people always get first preference.
I thanked her as I took his little back pack out of her car, she said, "Any problems Codes, ring me right away," she hugged me.
Just then Trent arrived home with Donny and he was all excited to meet Timmy that he didn't stop and ran through the house. I called out to him, "Take it easy baby don't scare him away."
I kissed April and went after him with Trent not far behind me, we hit the sand and slowed to a walking pace. Donny was hugging Timmy and asking him to be his little brother, he was helping him to get his sand castle straight.
"Timee, not like that, like dis, like Donny does."
Timmy smiled, his dimples were deep and so cute, I looked at Dan and he was looking at Timmy then me, he winked.
They got on like a house on fire so we decided to leave them to it. Trent had a little talk with Donny and we went and watched from the porch, I took a hundred photos with my phone and sent some to the boys, kids, mum and Dan's mum.
At dinner time Timmy and Donny were old friends and it was decided for a few nights Donny would sleep at our place with him. The kids arrived home then Jamie and Luke, Timmy was laughing with Bobby and Rory who fed him his chicken nuggets but it was all too much for him and he eventually crawled onto Dan's lap and curled up, he held onto Dan's shirt and went to sleep. Dan was stunned into silence as he stroked Timmy's cheeks.
We eventually put them both to bed, Trent and Tom quietly told Donny a story and he too went off, we left a small light on in case they woke up.
Dan and I left the doors open and went to bed, we would have to get a baby monitor tomorrow.
"Codes, you didn't hug him."
"Im too scared to Dan, I'm sorry."
"I understand Codes, just be happy we have him here with us and pray to god he stays."
"I am Dan with all my heart."
We didn't sleep much that night, I don't know what I expected but there was no weeping, no moans coming from their room, Dan and I were ready for it.
The next morning I was up early having coffee and just watching the dawn when a tired looking little boy walked out and sat with me, I gave him a small glass of juice and he stared at me intensely then he struggled down from his chair and climbed onto my lap. I cuddled him and stroked his face, his eyes were like bright green marbles, he was as light as a feather.
In all this time he hadn't said a word to anyone but just then I heard him say, "Timmy happy now," then he went to sleep.
My tears flowed and I answered, "So is Cody, son."
That was the start of my love affair with our son, I knew there and then he was sent by the angels to complete Dan and my lives. Fortunately he was the perfect little scamper, he didn't have any bad dreams or nightmares during the night and like all little kids, big noises frightened him and he was very timid around animals.
We took him up to the charity offices, we had to borrow Tom's car with the kiddy seat and we would buy another two for our cars when in town.
Mum was happy to see us both and she could see we had bonded with him, he was sitting on my lap one minute and Dans the next, it was like he was trying to decide which one of us is the more comfortable, he eventually stuck with Dan. "Looks like I won out Squirt."
"For now Dan," I smirked back at him.
Mum sent Timmy to find April and get himself a bikky from the kitchen, she wanted to have a grown up talk with us. He said, "Okay dokay mum."
She laughed then said to us.
"Do you love him already?"
We told her we loved him before we saw him.
We also said we weren't fooling ourselves but will do everything in our power to make sure he's happy and safe and were prepared for the worst.
She looked at us both and laughed, "You both are so not prepared for losing him Cody, I knew that before I even asked you."
"Oh mum, this is going to be so hard for us, we already love him to bits and want to do so much for him it hurts but we know its temporary."
"Well, it doesn't have to be Codes, I reckon he would make a fine grandson for me."
"He's perfect mum but I am not thinking too far ahead at the moment."
"Cody and Dan, I have some bad news for you, Timmy's mum overdosed and died yesterday afternoon, we had done everything in our power to get her into treatment but it wasn't working, she was too far gone."
"Fucking drugs mum, no good ever comes from taking them, I'm more sorry for Timmy, poor little thing, I guess we will have to tell him at some stage but will he understand is a good question?" Dan said.
"Leave it for now Dan, just love him more, his mother's parents are older pensioners and his father is unknown, they don't want Timmy, he's never seen them and they're too old to care anymore, also there are no other relatives that we know of."
"Where does that leave Tim mum?" I asked.
She answered, "Codes, if you want to have custody and eventually adopt him then start talking to my lawyers today, his grandparents are happy to sign a temporary custody order naming you and Dan as his legal guardians at my recommendation, we have to move on this as quietly and quickly as possible."
Dan grabbed mum and kissed her and we all hugged forever, we had tears forming and love in our hearts.
"Squirt, let's go get our son."
We made an appointment with mum's legal team and within three hours we were the legal guardians of one Timothy Doolen, we know him better as our son. We then went shopping.
That night we had a big cake, the announcement was made and Donny was so happy he had a new cousin. Timmy was so excited his eyes popped when he saw the cake, my guess is he's never had one before.
Luke did bowls of ice- cream and cake for them and they squealed with delight when they both found a kinder surprise buried in their dessert.
We didn't want to over excite them before bedtime so Dan and I put him to bed and read a story to him, he was sleeping alone but during the night Dan woke me and said,
"Codes, I heard Timmy moaning."
"Go get him Dan."
We had him by our sides within seconds, I think he was just dreaming but we wanted to make sure he had a good nights sleep.
He was first up in the morning and he pulled at my face and kissed me but when he got not much of a response he started on Dan who took him to the toilet to do a wee.
I put the coffee on and made toast for us, the kids arrived and started to entertain Tim so Dan and I took the opportunity to shower, Dan had me twice and I had him all over me as soon as our clothes were off.
When we came out Donny was telling Tim about our long showers and he was giggling his head off.
Over the next week we bonded much more and enrolled him in kindy with no trouble at all, he could go with Donny for a few months. He settled into a routine and many a morning when I opened my eyes there were a similar pair looking back at me. Of course Dan got the same treatment, more often we would drag him into bed with us and we would tell him how much we loved him and he would squeal when we tickled him.
We headed to the farm as mum thought it was about time they met, actually everybody came.
"And who are you young man?" mum asked.
She went to pick him up but he screamed, "No no no!"
He struggled into Dan's arms. We were quite shocked but mum said,
"Given the circumstances boys, I don't blame him, let's give him some time."
He had only been around my mum and April so I guess it was bound to happen, he was very shy with women and given the circumstances, I don't blame him.
No big family jokes today, we just set up the barbecue. Donny, Tom, Trent, Tim and Dan went to see Bella and I helped mum with the food, of course the kids were in the barn when I heard the quad bike start and two very excited little boys belted in the back yelling, "Look at me, look at me."
Timmy was talking non-stop by the time we caught up, I picked him up onto my knee, mum was sitting next to me and he stared at her then he couldn't help it, he smiled and asked, "Daddy, Coods his mum got horsy for Timmy?"
"Well why don't you ask her Timmy?"
He leant over and asked, "Has Tim got horsy mum?"
"Not this time baby but maybe next time there might be a little horsy for you in the barn but mum has some sheep you can see after lunch and some doggies."
"Cool mums, daddy Coods can I see mum's doggies?"
"Sure you can baby, we will eat first then get it sorted."
Mum leant over and said, "Daddy Coods?"
"We didn't ask him to call us that, I think it came from Donny but we won't stop him, I grinned from ear to ear.
We all ate and then I caught up with Debs. She more or less has moved in and I asked how the wedding plans were coming along, she looked at me and laughed.
"Why Codes? I'm guessing you can tell me, I'm going to be the last to know."
Just then Rob did his thing and welcomed Timmy into the family as grandson number two. Mike said, "Boy, when this one comes," patting Debs belly, "God knows what number he will be. Luke, Jamie don't you dare."
Luke just yelled back patting his belly, "Medical science is amazing Mike, I'm not even getting morning sickness." Mikes face looked confused and Jamie said, "Sucked in Mike, I guess it's the farmer in you." We all roared laughing.
We talked about the wedding but the 'kids' were tight lipped, they had already seen my designs and re-assured me it would be traditional, they giggled till they almost burst.
Mum sat there and smiled at them.
"What are they up to mum?"
"If I told you, I would have to kill you Codes and I don't think you would like that," she lifted her eyebrows.
"Come on grandson number two, want to help mum feed the chickens?"
He squealed and grabbed her hand, "Yes please mums."
He shouted, "Donny, donny come chickens." Donny toddled off after them.
Luke was in awe of Timmy, he loved him as much as we did, he confessed when he finished his studies that Jamie and he would start fostering. Luke wanted to be a country doctor specialising in children's medicine and he also wanted to do psychology. He wanted to help in the fight against depression on the land which he thinks is a big problem, too many men hold onto problems, especially farmers who struggle from day to day.
I strolled down to the chook pens and could hear mum, Donny and Timmy laughing and talking so I left them to it. Dan sidled up to me and said, "Want a nap Codes?"
I replied, "Race you." We ran upstairs and locked the door, we were naked and going at it when there was a small knock on the door. Dan groaned.
"There goes our us time Codes."
I giggled and said, "Maybe we might get a lend of the quad and go down to the lower paddock when he has his afternoon nap."
I opened the door and let him in.
"Mums got boogie eggs, lots and lots of dem, come on Dads I showed you."
Mum turned out to be his best friend by the time we left, every animal on the farm was introduced to Timmy and it looks like he's never going to be home once the pony arrives. Dan and I will buy that for him, guess I had better learn to ride too. (Yes, there are some things I can't do.)
A few days before the wedding I went to the club and rented the other three cabins so everybody had a place to sleep.The night before all us boys went to the club for Mike's bucks night and the ladies stayed home, I was warned by the 'kids' not to go into the garage, the result would be very painful.
We didn't have to do a thing but I was still worried that there wasn't any setting up done, the house was clean and the cabins full.
We had a great night, Mike had requested a fancy dress night.
I wore my Pooh Bear pyjamas, freckles and wig while hugging my bear,
Mike wore his overalls and a straw hat, Jamie had his bikers gear on with leather pants, Luke blew us away with his nordic viking outfit that hardly left anything to the imagination, that got Jamie going and a few others. Tom and Trent came as the very sexy duo Batman and Robin, Matt and John were Buzz Lightyear and Woodie. Dan sniggered when he walked out with his daytime clothes on.
I said, "Not dressing up Daniel?"
He winked at me and said, "Let's go."
When we all walked in, camera phones flashed and many messages were sent out. Dan disappeared and after a short while he came back in his Superman outfit and it was awesome, he had his red jock on and boy did I dribble a lot, many more shots, I could see the room filling up quickly as girlfriends and wives appeared out of nowhere. We had an awesome night and poor Dan's ass was red raw by the time we left. He had many photos taken and I was a bit jealous but knew I was the only one taking him to bed. Tom and Trent spent the night mimmicking Batman and Robin saving the world, Larry turned up in his 'school kid' uniform, two sizes too small, it was all ripped and he had painted on a black eye and teamed his outfit with his black jocks.
"Fuck me," I said.
Larry leered at me and said, "The kids said this would get your blood pumping," as he wiggled his eyebrows.
I blushed and screamed, "Rory and Bobby, next week we talk."
Of course the 'kids' weren't there, they had too much to do.
When we arrived home all was quiet, there was a note warning us not to open the drapes so we looked in on Timmy and Donny and they were snuggled up together. Donny's arm was hugging Tim.
We had rampant sex that night and it was two am by the time we drifted off. Dan's superman suit was torn to shreds and so was my Pooh pyjamas, we were so intent on getting to each others bits it took us a while to settle into a comfortable sixty niner. I made love to Dan and he did the same to me, neither of us wanted to end it but he couldn't hold on any longer.
"Codes you asleep?"
"Not yet Dan."
"Do you think Timmy loves us?"
"Yes Dan, he sure does, I think it's the safest he's felt in a long time."
"Do you think I might go and check on him?"
"No Dan but please don't forget to feed him."
"Why Codes, I thought you had that covered?"
"I do Dan but you don't want him to end up with Maxie at the neighbours."
"Okay Codes, I'll make sure he's fed," Dan giggled.
Wait for it.
"Codes, you still awake?"
"Do you think we should buy him a dog Codes?"
"It isn't going to happen Dan."
"Why not Codes?"
"Oh Dan, I just know these things."
He started giggling, his body moved closer and he shook with mirth.
"Go to sleep Dan," I laughed back.
"I love you Codes, never give up on me."
"I love you more Dan and giving up is not an option. goodnight."
It seemed so long ago since we met and Dan saved my life, I had almost forgotten the pain I went through and that gorgeous brother of his who saved me from my nightmares, I am indebted to them both forever.
I drifted off to sleep with my gentle giant cacooning me with his love.
The drapes were still pulled when I got up and two little boys wanted to go and find Tom and Trent so I made sure they had juice then let them out the door, they hit the car park running. Poor Tom and Trent, if they wanted to lay in it's not going to happen. I started cooking loads of eggs, bacon and sausages and after I had the big roaster full and in the oven, I started on the toast. Luke and Jamie came up and started to help, I pulled Luke aside and gave him a kiss and hug. "Is there anything I need to know Codes?" he lifted one eyebrow.
"No Luke, all's good, just wanted to give you a hug, that's all."
Jamie gave me a funny look so I hugged him too.
When Dan arrived he grabbed my hand and led me to the shower. "Be back in a minute boys," he winked.
"Okay Clarke," Jamie yelled.
"Grrr," Dan groaned.
We showered and of course his one eyed monster got my full attention then as Dan washed my legs, he did the same. He did my smells and again loaded my toothbrush, we skylarked around for awhile then settled in for some morning lip lock. Dan sat me on the basin and began his ritual, he fingered, greased and stuffed me full of his babies. I was spent and tried hard to move but it was slow going, I jumped in the shower again and Dan pulled up a chair, I gave him a great show.
We dressed then exited the bathroom, two little boys were sitting on our bed giggling, one in particular had a disposable camera in his hand.
"What's the camera for Donny?"
"I don't know Cods, uncke Rory gave to me in casted id seed super mans."
"Rory," I shouted.
I entered the living room to a bunch of clapping and laughter.
"That was an all time record Codes,we timed you," Rob said.
"Pay up Dad," Mike added.
"Oh ffs, not again," I shouted.
I had to abbreviate my 'for fucks sake' because the littlies were right behind me.
(God I loved my fucking family.)
Bobby called everyone to attention then he and Rory slowly pulled the drapes aside and I stared in wonder at the scene before me.
I whispered to Rory,
"This is not over by a long shot, tomorrow we talk."
Tomorrow never came to Rory, how could I chastise him when he's done such a good job with the wedding.
The beach had been levelled and a giant marquise had been erected, caterers were running about preparing the spit roast and I could see swings and slides to the right and jumping castles to the left. The porch was covered in flowers, it framed the scene perfectly.
There were a couple of pony rides for the kids (no the little kids).
Tables were set up in the marquee with beautiful flower arrangements on each, they must have been up all night doing all this.
Debs and Mike would take their vows on the porch and the boys had laid red carpet all over it and down the steps to the marquee.
It was a picture perfect day, Mike looked awesome in his suit and so did Dan, Luke and I but mum stole the show with her lemon lace, crystal encrusted dress I had made for her. Rob couldn't take his eyes off her, she had lost weight and looked stunning.
"Is that what you wanted mum?"
"Perfect Squirt, Rob don't just stand there in lust, take a photo of me and Squirt will you?" Rob went beetroot.
We posed for many photos and then it was time to get into our positions. Everybody had arrived and Trent's parents were just lovely people, they hugged Dan and I forever and thanked us over and over. We had met them before but they insist we are Trent's lifesavers so they wanted to hug us again. I whispered to them,
"It's really Tom you should thank."
"It's okay Squirt we have that one sorted every day, we adore him and Donny."
My mum unfortunately had to fly to London to see the princess but she left a present and her best wishes.
The bridal song started and we saw in the distance a quad bike looking more like the Chelsea flower show coming up the beach. Deb was standing up on the bike yelling amongst other things, "yipee, awesome, cool" and it pulled up next to the red carpet with her bridesmaids and father in tow. When she slowly ascended the staircase her antique ivory dress shone in the sunshine, it was on full display and danced with every movement. There was no train and just a delicate flower and lace veil. Everyone clapped when she started up the stairs.
Mike was just speechless and his smile said everything, he was so proud and thankful Debs had chosen him and so was I, they were perfect for each other.
The ceremony was perfect, Donny and Timmy did their part with a cushion each, they kept looking at the horses and castle so I whispered,
They kept their big eyes on me all the time and when the very long photo shoot was over, l said, "Get changed and go have some fun."
They ran screaming into the house and returned half dressed and disappeared through the crowd. Trent and Tom had already changed and were on the horses and the keeper lifted the littlies up to go for a ride. Just then the charity bus turned up with Brad driving, there were about ten little kids aboard and they all took off to do the jumping castle swings and horse rides. Brilliant idea Bobby. The kids screaming in the background gave the wedding a real family feel and mum didn't know which one to hug first and of course she wanted to take them all home.
Debs and Mike thanked me profusely and we all sat down to a country roast of lamb or chicken. The little kids dined on McDonalds kiddy packs that were delivered by Ronald himself. The happy couple kept kissing and Mike was patting Debs belly all the time, including the baby when he could.
Then came the speeches, they were heartfelt and honest and when it was Luke's turn, what he talked about wasn't his usual jokes and barbs but from the heart of a twin. He talked about his brother and their life as twins, he included Dan as their rock and Jamie and I as their fourth and fifth brothers.
I let a tear slip as those words were said and he got a standing ovation, then Luke said to Mike, "I meant every word Mike, you're the best brother."
They hugged then we all did the same to Luke. The wedding cake was another Rory and Bobby triumph. Standing on top was a simple farmer and his wife and if you looked closely at Debs dress there was a little girl holding her skirt.
"Are you having a girl Debs?"I asked.
She said, "We don't want to know Codes, we want a surprise."
Umm, better talk to those kids about this one, they seem to know everything.
The day turned into dusk and most of the guests had left. Brad and April loaded the very tired kids onto the bus but before they did a very shy Brad pulled me aside.
"I'm so sorry Codes, I was very immature and cruel at school, I guess I didn't want to know I had feelings for you too and I apologise for the things us guys did. I missed you so much the next year and I didn't hang with those guys after that, the regret lives with me every day."
"It's over Brad but thank you, I guess I was being a bit immature also but hey, let's put it behind us, I'm guessing you have some littlies at home that need a dad hug and thank you for today."
"Yes the kids need hugs but the wife doesn't, I guess that's Karma." he left with his head hung low.
Then it was just our family sitting around, the caterers had cleaned up and coffee was served. Deb and Mike decided they would forgo tradition and stay at the house with the family.
They got the usual presents and quite a lot of money in the wishing well (my mum had given them quite a fat cheque).
They also received a painting from Bobby and Rory of the decorated wedding cake including the little girl and after awhile I started to really look at it when everyone was outside. I spotted something and went and got our magnifying glass, I looked at the little girl and it read, "Hi mummy and daddy, I'm Daniella, I love you."
"Don't tell anyone yet Codes, it's a surprise," Bobby whispered in my ear.
"Rory, Bobby, my room now!" I said.
"Haven't got time Codes, got to get more coffee sorted," they took off giggling.
I gave a really loud Dan groan and huffed off out the front.
"What's wrong Squirt?"
"Nuthin Dan," I got out through clenched teeth.
We finally got Timmy off to sleep, he wouldn't stop talking about horses so Donny gave him his toy horse to sleep with. Finally, with everyone settled Dan and I got to bed. What a wonderful day, I wouldn't tell anyone about the painting and no one else noticed it.
"Dan, what sex do you think Mike's baby is?"
"Don't know Codes but if I have to guess I think it will be a boy."
"But then again maybe a girl," he added.
"Oh okay," I said.
I thought to myself I had better start buying pink things and store them, the kids are never wrong.
Bobby had been swamped with requests from people and galleries for his paintings but he rejected them all to concentrate on his next showing. Maybe he has the power to see into the future, I wouldn't put it past him with all he went through that something may have surfaced. Stop it Cody your being stupid, of course he can't see into the future.
I drifted off with Dan's arms tightly wrapped around me into blissful sleep, this time I dreamt of a curly headed girl called Daniella and a little boy called Timmy.