Castle Roland

The Apprentice

by Sahypo

In Progress

Chapter 21

Posted: 31 Dec 15

The Apprentice

Copyright © by Sahypo

Pat and Lizabeth arrived late, and the greetings were short and sweet, as everyone wanted to get to bed, because tomorrow was going to be a big day for a lot of folks. Timmy was going to meet the extended family this made him so nervous that he was afraid he wouldn't be able to sleep. Isaac had given his room to his parents, so he and Timmy slept together in Timmy's bed. Isaac had gotten Timmy a queen size bed, for just these occasions, and there was plenty of room.

"I'm worried that everyone is going to think I'm an outsider or something." Timmy had said.

"Just go there and be yourself Timmy. Everyone else has to get used to this situation too, and there are probably going to be some who warm up to you right away. That doesn't make them bad, or mean there's anything wrong with you. You can't do anything about that anyway, so just be yourself and let things work out. If someone's going to stick their ass in the air and snub you, that's their decision, and they have to bear the consequences."

"I guess you're right, Isaac."

"As your attorney, you know I'm right!" Isaac teased. "Now, let's get some sleep."

When Timmy and Isaac got up in the morning, they found Pat and Lizabeth in the kitchen drinking coffee and cooking breakfast. After greetings, Isaac asked if there was anything they needed to do to get ready for the event, and Pat told him the car was already loaded with the cooler, and that all they needed to do was get dressed, eat breakfast and they would leave for the park around 9 o'clock.

Timmy and Isaac had slept nude, but wore shorts into the kitchen. After the boys had eaten, Timmy and Isaac took their shower and got dressed.

At the park, they found about ten cars parked near the pavilion that had been reserved. Isaac and Pat lugged the large cooler out to the tables under the pavilion, and Dennis came over to greet them. Pat showed Dennis the meat he had brought to grill for lunch, and Dennis filled Lizabeth and Pat in on the items they had as well, and soon they had the coolers organized close to the grill. Robin and Doug, Dennis and Debbie's neighbors and best friends, had come with Ricky and Randy. Debbie's brother and his wife, and sister had also come.

Debbie came over and took Timmy in tow, and began by making an announcement.

"Hey, everybody! Please give me your attention for a moment, please… I would like to introduce you to the newest members of the family. This is Timmy, and he is here with Isaac, Pat and Lizabeth." as the Daniel's came forward and waved to everyone.

"Hello, and it's a real pleasure to meet you all" Lizabeth said. Soon the relatives were milling around, talking again, and Debbie started introducing the four newcomers to each of her kin, and Doug, Robin, Ricky and Randy.

"Timmy, I want you to meet Edward Kane, your grandfather." Debbie said.

"It's great to meet you, Sir." Timmy said, shaking the patriarch's hand.

"I've been so excited since we heard about you, Timmy! It's great to meet you, and welcome to the family, grandson!" Edward said, wrapping an arm around Timmy.

Timmy looked up in his grandfather's face and said "Thanks, grandpa!" just at that moment, an elderly woman stood beside Edward , who said, "Timmy, this is June, your grandmother." Timmy nodded and said "It's good to meet you."

"Well, anybody as cute as you has to be family, Timmy!" June said, as she put Timmy in a bear hug. "I'm just tickled pink about this whole thing!" she stood back and looked Timmy in the face and said "You look just like your brothers, …by the way, where are the boys, Debbie?"

"Out on the grass roughhousing," she said, turning to four small boys playing about 50 yards away from the pavilion, engaged in a game of chase.

"Boys! Come over here for a minute, please!" and the brothers broke off whatever game they were playing and came running over. Randy and Ricky followed to watch.

"Dwayne, Donny, do you know who this is?" Debbie asked. Timmy was staring at the boys, finding it hard to believe how close the three of them resembled each other. He wasn't sure he knew what to say to two strange children he had never met who were his blood brethren. He had never been in this situation before, and had never known anyone who had.

"He's the kid in the picture, mommy." Dwayne said, and Debbie and Timmy laughed. Donny looked at Timmy and studied him, not saying anything.

"This is Timmy. This is your brother, Timmy. Timmy, this is Donny, and Dwayne." Debbie said in introduction. Isaac and Dennis had come over, and Pat and Lizabeth moved closer too. Everyone wanted to experience this first hand.

Timmy extended one hand to each boy and said "Hi Donny…Hi Dwayne. I'm glad to meet you both."

Donny was the first to speak " Wow, you're really my brother?" Timmy nodded. "Yeah."

The reality had hit for Donny…up to now, Timmy had been an abstract concept, and now he had Timmy by the hand and could feel that this was real.

"I never had a big brother before." Timmy replied, "I never had little brothers, either. I guess we have to get used to this together, huh?" Donny nodded.

Dwayne was more practical. He had accepted that Timmy was real in his life, he was just interested now in what happened next.

"Are you coming to live with us?" the five year old asked. He was very direct and did not quite understand why his parents and the people around him would sometimes find what he said funny, or blush with embarrassment.

"Dwayne, me and your mom and dad have to talk that over…but don't worry, little guy, nothings going to happen that you and Donny won't know about, okay?" The smallest sibling nodded.

Debbie looked at Timmy in admiration of how he had handled that, and Isaac put his hand on Timmy's shoulder.

"Guys, this is our big brother Isaac." Timmy said. Donny looked confused, and Timmy said. "We're not blood brothers, like me, you and Dwayne, but it's close enough."

"Are you an Indian?" Dwayne asked Isaac, out of the blue. Debbie turned scarlet and shook her head, her face in her hands. "Dwayne! For God's sake!"

Isaac chuckled and said "No, no blue-eyed Indian blood as far as I know." Pat and Lizabeth and Grandpa Edward were laughing at the little boy's outburst.

"He looks like the Indian boy on the war pony, Mommy." Dwayne said.

"Nope, sorry…I don't have a pony or a teepee, Dwayne." Isaac replied. Debbie felt mortified.

"I'm so sorry, Isaac…It was a movie he saw the other night."

"Oh, he's just being five…come here, cowboy!" Isaac said, bending down and patting Dwayne's back as he pointed at Timmy. "You really got to watch this one, he's a real outlaw!"

"Gee…thanks a lot, Geronimo!" Timmy said, as Donny got the joke and giggled. Donny was a lot like his older brother, in that he sometimes seemed older than his years.

The little boys dragged Timmy and Isaac off to play with them in the field, and Timmy spent some time learning what games they liked to play and tossing a ball for them, and they got used to each other. Dwayne took to Timmy right away and Donny's reticence faded as the boys played together. Ricky and Randy enjoyed having the extra player in the game. Donny felt a bit better since Timmy had assured the boys that they wouldn't be surprised by any change in their lives just dropping in on them. This is one reason Timmy felt he needed to talk to Debbie and Dennis, and he broke off the game to find them, and handed the ball to Isaac. Isaac said

"Take your time, little bro. I'll keep the munchkins busy."

"You're the best, Isaac, thanks."

Timmy found Debbie and Dennis talking to Pat. He waited until there was a break in the conversation, and asked Dennis if the three of them could talk a bit. Dennis and Debbie could see that there was something on Timmy's mind, and they found a table away from the others and sat down. Pat figured Timmy and the Kanes needed some time to talk among themselves, and looked for Lizabeth.

"I've been doing a lot of thinking since we met, and I guess everyone is wondering what happens next…I know you guys said you didn't want to change a lot of stuff, and I guess I feel the same way." Timmy was trying to pick his words carefully.

"I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings and I feel like I'm having to choose sides or something."

Dennis said, "Don't look at things that way, Timmy. We said we would go by what you decide. We aren't going to be hurt or mad or anything like that. We wouldn't place that sort of pressure on you. Just lay out what you're thinking, and we can talk about it."

"Well….I owe a lot to Isaac, Pat and Lizabeth. Pretty much everything. I would feel like I am betraying them to leave…I have a home now that I really love. That's one thing. The second thing is that I don't want to just crash in on Donny and Dwayne. They have a home they love too, and I know things are different now, but I don't want them to have to compete with me for a mom and dad, if that makes sense."

"It does, Timmy. It shows that you care about people around you, and how this will affect them." Debbie said. "Dennis and I understand that."

"That's why I feel I need to go forward with the adoption." Timmy said.

Dennis nodded. "Timmy, would you still spend time with us, and Donny and Dwayne? Even if you live somewhere else, your grandparents, brothers and Debbie and I want the connection with you. The other thing is this…Isaac will be out of school in a year or so. He may have to move to take a job, Timmy. You might decide to stay with us if you wanted to keep your friends and school. It really doesn't matter what name you take because you have options in the future if things and circumstances change, Okay?"

"That's true…" Timmy said. Dennis had just said something that made Timmy realize that he wouldn't have Isaac forever. Sooner or later, Timmy would grow up and be at the cusp of adulthood that Isaac was facing. He would have to make the choices Isaac had in front of him, and pick the opportunities he would take.

"I'm thinking I have a big extended family now, with real brothers and parents, and adopted ones too." Timmy said.

"That's exactly what this is, Timmy." Dennis said. "Feeling better now?"

Timmy nodded. "Thanks, Mom and Dad," he said as he got up from the table to relieve Isaac. Dennis and Debbie looked at each other and smiled, this was turning out to be much easier than they had expected. Timmy needed to wind down his emotional tension, and pitching the ball for the boys was a soothing distraction. Dennis got up, and wandered around a bit, finally winding up standing next to his father, watching his grandsons and Ricky, Randy and Isaac play. Isaac was trying to coach Dwayne on his throwing which was a bit erratic, with mixed success.

Dennis and his father chatted briefly, Edward commented that Timmy seemed to be such a fine young man. Dennis had given Edward some background on Timmy, and the elder Kane was aware of some of the abuse Timmy had suffered. He also found it fascinating that Timmy had inherited the family "curse". He asked if Timmy knew that it ran in the family.

"Timmy was the one who asked me if anyone in the family had it, Dad. Yeah, he wanted to know that almost the first thing when we talked about family medical history. I thought Debbie was going to pass out when he asked that." Dennis chuckled.

The little foursome were now hanging onto Timmy's legs, and succeeded in knocking Timmy down, and the five of them were wrestling around in the grass. Screeches of laughter came from the pile as Timmy tickled and pinned the small boys enough to escape and flee. The chase was on and the children chased Timmy around the park.

Pat, Dennis and Edward had started the fire and were getting ready to grill when the very hot and tired boys came back for drinks and rest.

Pat and Dennis were discussing real estate.

"There are some practical considerations too, Pat. Debbie and I have known for some time that our house isn't going to be big enough much longer. We are going to have to move, not only for more room for the boys, but also the schools are much better closer to the city. If we locate closer it will make it much easier for Timmy to spend time with his brothers." Dennis said.

"How big is your place, Dennis?" Pat asked

"About 900 square feet. It was built just after the war, maybe early 50's" Dennis said. "Debbie and I bought it pretty run down, because it was dirt cheap. We fixed it up and it's probably worth four times what we paid."

"Sounds like you made a good investment…Well, Lizabeth and Isaac and I look at a lot of properties, and I can get contracted work at a better price than a homeowner. I would be happy to help you look at something you are interested in buying, and get my contractors to bid work if you want." Pat said.

"That would be great, Pat."

"When are you going to start looking?"

"We're ready to get started now."

"Just about everything in Isaac's area is around 2000 square foot, and 3 or 4 bedrooms. The school district is excellent, and everything you need is pretty close by."

On the other side of the pavilion, Doug and Robin were sitting and talking to June, and motioned Timmy over to join them. Robin introduced herself and Doug to Timmy again, "Timmy, this is my husband Doug, and I'm Robin, and we are neighbors to Dennis and Debbie…Our two boys play with your brothers." Timmy shook hands with the couple

"Hi, nice to meet you…Yes, I met Ricky and Randy. I think they are older than my brothers, right?"

"Ricky's 7 and Randy's nine now, yes." Robin affirmed. "So how are you dealing with all this so far, Timmy?"

"It's been a lot to deal with. I wasn't sure I would be accepted like I have been. Things got a lot better for me just meeting Isaac, and now all this…" Timmy said. "It's hard to believe this is true."

"We can tell you that your family is wonderful. We've known Debbie and Dennis since they moved in to the neighborhood, and our kids were born. You couldn't ask for better folks, Timmy." Doug said.

"So what are my brothers like?…you guys know them pretty well, right?" Timmy asked.

"Well, Donny is very smart, and usually the quiet one. He watches and figures things out, and little Dwayne is not afraid of anything. He is the outgoing one who will just say what's on his mind, and sometimes gets himself in trouble." Robin said. "Him and Randy are a lot alike when it comes to that. You can't keep secrets around either one of them. Donny is reserved, and Dwayne never met a stranger. He'll run off in Wal-Mart, and Debbie will find him talking to people two aisles over."

"That probably drives De…um, mom crazy…" Timmy said. Doug chuckled.

"I took the four of them to the boat show last year and we lost Dwayne…he climbed up in a cabin cruiser and went inside to look around. The poor guy had to go get him out…he didn't know you weren't supposed to climb on the boats."

"Geez, did he get in trouble for that?" Timmy asked

"Not really, but he pestered the hell out his dad to buy the boat, I remember that" Doug said. "Poor Dennis was scared to death that he had broken something that he would have to pay for, but everything was okay. I'm just glad he didn't use the head."

Timmy had a confused look on his face "The…what?"

"Oh, the toilet on a boat is called a head, sorry." Doug said.

"I don't know much about boats." Timmy admitted.

"Well, maybe you would like to come out with us sometime, Timmy" Robin suggested.

"You guys have a boat?" Timmy wondered.

"Ah, no! A boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into, Timmy. I work at a boat dealership, and the boss lets us peons play with the merchandise every so often." Doug said.

"That sounds like fun. So what do you do there?" Timmy asked.

"They call me a master technician, but I'm sure I have them fooled…I do all the engine warranty work, and handle electrical issues mainly. Do you know what you want to do yet when you grow up, Timmy?"

"I'm just keeping my eyes open and looking at different things…Isaac is going to be an aircraft mechanic soon, and I've read his books. Might do something like that. I'm going to start auto shop classes next week at school, too."

"Well, if you would like to go boating, and see the shop, let Dennis know, okay?" Doug said.

"Thanks, that sounds really cool." Timmy replied.

June had been sitting next to Timmy during his conversation with Doug and Robin, and now she wished to have some time with her new grandson. Doug and Robin excused themselves, and June asked

"Have you gotten to know your brothers a little today, Timmy?"

"I don't think they are quite as scared and nervous now, I guess." Timmy replied.

"It's a big step for all of us, sweetheart, but we were so excited to hear about you, and now Edward and I have finally been able to see you and talk to you."

"I admit I was kinda scared of how this would turn out, like some people might not like me because…." Timmy trailed off.

"Because of the way things happened? Timmy…Dennis had troubles growing up, and he took a bad path there for a while. I'm not saying that any of that reflects on you, honey, because it doesn't. If that is what you were afraid of, don't be. What matters is that you're here with us now, and things have finally been made right. We all wish this had come to light sooner, and you might have been with people who loved and took care of you better, and Denny took that pretty hard." June said.

"I know, ma'am. I told him I didn't blame him for that. I don't."

"Do you believe in God, Timmy?" June asked. Timmy felt put on the spot for an instant, but decided to answer her with the truth.

"I'm not sure if I do…I was pretty sure he wasn't there when bad things were happening to me, and I prayed that he would help me when I was little…nothing changed and I gave up…Then I met Isaac and I guess my prayers were answered?…I don't know, Grandma."

"Sometimes its not that obvious that God is there for you. I can see how you might question that, Timmy. I prayed that your father would find the right path, and I think God did send him before that judge…he was a tough one, but it worked for Dennis. I'll never forget him, Judge Bailey."

"Oh my Gosh! He's the judge that I had to give my statement to…" Timmy said.

"Statement?" June asked.

"Yeah…um, you know about my mother, right?" June nodded. "Well, Detective Walsh figured out who killed her, and I got to go to court and talk before Judge Bailey sentenced him for it." Timmy explained.

"What did you say, Timmy?"

"Umm, that I forgave him for what he done, and that I was going to get on with my life while he sat in prison." Timmy said.

"I think I probably just would screamed my head off like a complete fool at someone like that," June said with a laugh.

"I thought I would too, but when it really happens, its different. I didn't really know what I was going to say until I got there and looked at him." Timmy said.

You believe in forgiveness, don't you?" June asked.

"Yeah, I do. Isaac taught me about that, and not being bitter and angry."

"Isaac is very wise."

"Yes, ma'am, I think so too." Timmy said, catching Isaac's eye, and urging him over with a nod of the head. "Speaking of the devil, Isaac, this is my grandmother, June." Timmy said. "I'm going to find the men's room, excuse me," as he got up and Isaac sat down to get to know June Kane better.

Timmy headed for the concrete block restroom building several hundred feet from the pavilion, and Donny came running over to him, "Wait up, Timmy! Where you going?" the youngster asked.

"I got to pee."

"Me too, but I was scared to go by myself," the six-year old said.

"Does Dwayne have to go?" Timmy asked, figuring that the youngest boy probably didn't want to go by himself either. They saw Dwayne, Ricky and Randy across the field and waved them over. The three boys came running to meet them.

"Whatcha guys doing?" Randy asked

"Going to pee." Donny said.

"Cool, we want to go too."

The five boys entered the old smelly building, and saw a long trough on the far wall, opposite a pair of commodes in small open cubicles. Timmy stood in the middle of the trough, with a pair of boys on either side of him, and unsnapped his fly and flipped his organ over his waistband. The four smaller boys had followed suit, and in a few seconds each one was relieving his bladder, and the smaller boys looked over Timmy's member.

"Wow, that's a big one." Ricky said, staring at Timmy's manhood.

"Hairy too!" Dwayne squealed. "His pee-pee looks just like me and Donny's."

"Yeah, that's so cool." Randy said. Timmy saw that his brother's penises were both miniature versions of his own, and that Ricky and Randy's uncircumcised members looked just like Isaac's, although on a much smaller scale. The boys finished, shook, then zipped up and got away from the stench of urine and deodorant cake and spray redolent in the restroom. He rejoined Isaac and his grandmother for a while longer, then it was time to eat as Pat and Dennis pulled the meat off the grill.

The rest of the day was spent under the pavilion eating drinking and talking, until late afternoon. Everyone was pretty spent from the heat and sun, and after plans were made for the boys to visit Isaac's house and play in the pool so Debbie and Dennis could house shop, it was time to get home. Isaac suggested wine coolers in the pool, and Pat and Lizabeth found that a capital idea. Soon everyone was in the pool, and Pat discussed his conversation with Dennis about a bigger house, and having Timmy's family closer.

Next door, Sean was bored, and when he heard activity in the back yard, he came over to the fence and watched for a while. Timmy could see Sean between the boards in the fence and said, "Sean, put on some swim shorts and come over and meet everyone." Timmy said.

"Okay." the boy behind the fence pickets said, and disappeared back into the house.

"He's the neighbor kid Sean, Melanie's son from New York." Timmy said.

Soon, Sean was at the ladder. "You guys aren't naked and stuff in there, are you?"

"And stuff?" Timmy asked, giggling "No, it's rated G in here, come on in." Pat, Lizabeth and Isaac were chuckling. Sean must have come over earlier to meet Timmy, and learned that the pool was clothing optional.

Sean climbed the ladder, and Timmy could see his chest and legs for the first time. He was completely without visible hair anywhere, and his high voice betrayed his lack of maturation. He looked like a tall ten year old.

"Sean, this is Isaac, my big brother, and two of my parents, Pat and Lizabeth." Timmy said. Lizabeth had been interested in how Timmy would introduce them, and found his way of handling things simple and to the point.

Sean exchanged greetings and shook hands around. "How long have you been here now, Sean?" Lizabeth asked.

"I flew here on Thursday." Today was Saturday. "You haven't had a chance to meet anyone yet, have you?"

"Just you guys is all right now." Sean said.

Sean remembered that Timmy had told him he was meeting his "real" family today, and asked

"So how did it go with your other brothers and the other parents today?"

"It went great…I'm still going to live here, but I think they are going to move closer if that works out." Timmy replied.

"So how are you and your mom getting adjusted to things?" Pat asked.

"Pretty good so far, Sir." Sean said. "I was a bit upset at first, but mom and I talked and I'm going to give things here a chance." Sean said, looking at Timmy, who nodded and smiled.

"We know things can be hard at first when you have to start over on so many things, Sean." Pat said.

"If you need help, Timmy and I are here. I know your mom has a lot of irons in the fire and she might have to work some crazy hours. It's okay if you come over." Isaac said.

"Will you be in middle school next week?" Lizabeth asked. Sean looked down and shook his head.

"No….high school…" he said quietly into the water.

"Gosh! Did you get promoted a year or something?" Timmy asked. Sean knew Timmy was surprised that someone so underdeveloped could be in high school…

"Ummm, I guess so…." Timmy could tell that Sean didn't want to talk about this, so he asked Sean if he had any hobbies, or things he liked to do.

"Music, mainly" Sean said. He had picked up a guitar when he was six, and never put it down after that. At fourteen, he could practically play anything with strings, and had mastered several instruments, and played with other kids in his building back in New York. They were going to form a band…then things had turned to shit…He shook himself back to reality, and asked Timmy the same question.

"I like working on things, like helping Isaac with his car. I'll be taking mine to school and working on it in auto shop this year, too." Timmy said.

"You have a car?" Sean asked, surprised.

"Yeah, that green Pontiac in front of the house was my….was Jack's. When he died, I got it."

"Jack?" Sean was confused.

"Yeah…remember I told you I lived with a guy I thought was my dad for 12 years…then I came here to live with Isaac a year ago…?"

"So, were you like, kidnapped?"

"Nah, nothin' like that. I didn't know he wasn't my dad until after he died." Timmy said.

"Man, you gotta write all this down…it would make a hell of a movie!" Sean said.

"Me?…You were the one who really got kidnapped!" Timmy said, drawing stares from the others. Sean read the looks on their faces and said, "Mom filed for divorce on my dad, and he ran off with me for three days until we got caught."

"What happened?" Lizabeth asked.

"He got arrested, mom moved here, and I went to spend the summer with my grandparents."

"Are you worried that he might do something like that again?" Pat asked.

"I told him I never wanted to see him again." Sean said. "He doesn't know we are here."

Pat and Lizabeth looked at each other and Isaac returned their glances at him. "Sean, do you have a picture of him, by chance?" Pat asked.

"Maybe mom does." Sean said.

The conversation turned to lighter things and after another hour or so, the adults got out and left Timmy and Sean to themselves in the pool. It was twilight by now, and the single bulb in the outside patio light was sufficient to allow them to see.

"Did you eat yet?" Timmy asked.

"Right before I came over, yeah." Sean replied. "You?"

"I'm still stuffed from the family reunion thing today." Timmy said.

"You have to have had a union first in order to have a reunion, you know." Sean said.

"That's funny." Timmy giggled. "I had to think about that for a second."

"What does it feel like, you know, to have two sets of parents and brothers you didn't know and all that?"

"Exciting, and then again, sad too, I guess…if I had known sooner, maybe a lot of stuff wouldn't have happened, you know…" Timmy said. Sean considered that, and had spent a long time thinking about what Timmy had said, and how he had given Sean another shot at friendship.

"When you said you had enough ass kicking to last a lifetime, it was you getting beat, wasn't it?" Sean said, looking into Timmy's eyes. Timmy looked down and nodded.

"I know what that's like too…It's why I didn't have a lot of friends to miss when I left." Sean said. "I can't trust people or they turn into assholes."

"Everybody's not like that, Sean. There's a lot of people in the world that are good and decent…we've just run into some real pricks is all. Since I left Jack, I have found friends and gone places and done things I never dreamed of."

He told Sean about the flight in Rick's plane, and the farm show and staying over at Scott's farm, although he did not get into specifics….and about shooting with Isaac and Peter. Sean had never known anyone who had touched a gun. He was impressed that Timmy had. Timmy told him about mini golf, the waterpark and learning to bowl. He told Sean that Isaac was teaching him to cook.

"Sean, I had to learn to trust Isaac, and it wasn't easy. But my life is a lot better now without fear and secrets…I just hope you find that out too, someday. Don't wait too long."

Sean didn't say anything, but just nodded. After a long few minutes paddling around the pool, thinking about what Timmy said, Sean asked, "I wonder if I could do stuff like that with you guys..."

"Ask Isaac…I know he would be cool with it. And your mom of course." Timmy said.

"Are you getting pruny?" Sean asked.

"Yeah. Wanna get out?" Timmy asked. Sean nodded and climbed the ladder, followed by Timmy.

"Wanna come over? Mom has to go in at 3 am so she's sleeping and we can't make noise, but you could see my room and stuff if you want." Sean offered.

"Okay, let me put on dry clothes and I'll be over." Timmy said.

"Let yourself in the backdoor, my room's to the left from the kitchen" Sean said as he went around the house to the side yard gate.

Timmy went inside and found Isaac in his spare room, so he dried off and put on a dry pair of briefs, a tee shirt and shorts and let Isaac know he was going to spend some time next door with Sean. Isaac said he wouldn't wait up, and goodnight. Timmy returned the blessing and left the house. He made his way out the patio door, and over through Sean's yard to his back door, and let himself in, and slid the door closed silently. He found Sean in a pair of sweat pants and a tee shirt, in a room with instrument cases propped up seemingly everywhere.

"Jesus, how many uh,…things do you have?" Timmy said in a quiet voice. Sean got up and closed the door.

"I can't play anything with mom asleep, but I'll show you the collection." Sean said proudly. He placed several guitar cases on a table and began to open them. The first one was a steel string acoustic flat top, with scratches and dings all over it. "This is my favorite, and the first one I ever got." It was a low priced Yamaha, that Melanie had bought for Sean at a thrift shop.

Next was a beautiful blue Ibanez round top with a Bixby tremolo that Sean had seen in a pawnshop with his father.

He had gone back several times to look at it, and finally gotten the courage up to ask the man to hand it down to him so he could look at it closer. Sean was eleven years old. He found the guitar badly out of tune, and quickly tuned it to pitch by ear. He had developed a habit of always carrying a pick with him, and asked the man for a guitar cable.

By now the guy was beginning to get annoyed at a kid pawing the merchandise, but at least the boy wasn't wearing a belt buckle, so he decided to just watch Sean for the moment. Customers with belts always scratched the back of the instruments…After plugging the guitar into an amplifier, Sean began to noodle, playing a medley of his favorite tunes and riffs, while the customers in the store gathered around and stared slack jawed. Someone threw an empty cardboard box on the floor by Sean's feet, and people began requesting songs. Some he knew, and others he picked out on the fly. After an hour, there was thirteen dollars and some change in the box, and Sean hoped the money was enough to buy the guitar…it wasn't, but the pawnbroker knew Sean's heart was set on it, and that it would only be a matter of time until he came back.

"What's your name, kid?" he asked

"Sean," the boy replied, as he went out the door. The pawnbroker pulled the ticket on the guitar and marked it "SOLD". The business was run by himself and a partner, and he told him, "I got a customer for that Ibanez…it's on a lay-away." The other man nodded and chomped on his cigar.

Sean went home and put the thirteen dollars in a envelope. He went back to the pawnshop often, played the guitar each time he went, and kept adding to the money in the envelope.

On one visit, Sean met an elderly black man who had seen Sean play in the store on an earlier occasion, and came today especially to meet Sean. He gave the boy a cassette tape of Robert Johnson, Son House and Muddy Waters. He asked Sean if he played blues, and if he would play blues for him sometime. For Sean, the meeting was fortuitous. He found himself fascinated with the style, and soon was playing lead riffs in 12 bar classic blues, as well as lead and rhythm combinations. Many times the old man had watched Sean play, and encouraged him, and put a few dollars in the box.

"You really been eyein' that there guitar, ain't ya?" the old man asked.

"Yes, sir. It's beautiful." Sean replied.

"How much you got saved up?"

"A hundred and seventy eight dollars so far."

"Lemme see that guitar, son" the old man said, and Sean passed it over. The old man began to pick a tune, and the hair stood up on the back of Seans' neck. This old man had been a blues guitarist in his own right back in his day.

"Lemme teach you a tune I ain't played in thirty years now…" the old master kept Sean and the other customers spellbound as he played and sang.

The day Sean got the guitar started out like any other. Sean had gone to the pawnshop to see and touch the blue guitar like he had so many times before. The old man came to the store before Sean did, and asked the owner what the asking price was on the guitar.

"It's sold." the pawnbroker replied.

"I know it is, son…when that boy comes in to get it, I'm good for the difference." the old man said. The pawnbroker smiled and said, "It's two fifty…how much has he got?"

"Hundred sixty or so…" the old man put seven twenty dollar bills on the counter. "Throw in that little amp there too for him, would ya?"

"You got ya a deal, boss! And thanks." the pawnbroker replied. Satisfied with the bargain he had struck, the old man left the pawnshop.

Sean came in later that day, and the pawnbroker put on an annoyed look and asked "When are you just going to come in and buy this damned thing already?"

'Uh, well, when I got enough money I guess." Sean said. "How much is it again?"

"A hundred sixty and you can take that amp you like with it, too"

Sean's eyes got huge and he began to stammer and squeak in a high voice, "Oh!…D …Don…Don't go anywhere, I'll be right back!" and he shot out of the store like he was fleeing ghosts, as the pawnbrokers roared in laughter. They had gotten quite a kick out of this little kid over the last few months.

Sean came back to close the deal later that afternoon, and when he arrived at the store, he put his money on the counter, and the pawnbroker reached the guitar down for him, as he had so many times before. This time was special for both of them. Sean was taking his prize home, and the pawnbroker was handing the guitar to the boy for the last time. Sean noticed the tag on the guitar had SOLD written on it, with a date. He knew that today was long after the date on the tag, and looked up at the man…He read the boys face and explained, "That's the day you first played it. I marked it sold as soon as you left that day. We knew you would be back for it, kid."

"Gee…thanks, Sir." Sean said. The pawnbroker wrote Sean a receipt for the guitar and amp, and said, "Here you go, son…And kid, don't be a stranger. You come back anytime you want to play. Catching a cab?" Sean nodded.

He helped Sean carry the equipment to the curb, and hailed a cab. They loaded the gear in the trunk, shook hands, and the cab left. Sean could have never lugged the amp and guitar thirteen blocks.

He never saw the old bluesman again.

Flash forward three years, and Melanie had added a twelve string acoustic, a Squire Stratocaster, and a nice Mexican nylon string classical guitar to Sean's collection. He had also learned to play mandolin, and was picking up banjo as well. Timmy took this all in, and made a comment that it was probably hard to learn.

"I can teach you to play a song in ten minutes." Sean said. "You would be surprised how many songs you know that only have three chords. Play the chords in the correct time and you're playing rhythm guitar." It was an oversimplification, but there is great deal of truth in the statement. "The banjo is the hardest…learning the finger rolls, unless you play claw hammer."

"Claw hammer?" Timmy asked.

"Yeah, like plunk, plunk, plunk style banjo…the fast stuff is three finger style."

"I can't wait to hear you play." Timmy said.

"Tomorrow's Sunday, if mom doesn't have to work, maybe I can get loud." Sean said. The boys decided to put the instruments back, and watch some TV. "Let's go to my room, Timmy." Sean said, and they moved to the third bedroom where Sean's bed, computer, TV, and clothes were. He still had some stuff in boxes, but that could wait for the next day. They lay on Sean's bed watching an episode of a popular series, and Sean got up and left the room. Timmy continued to watch the show, and several minutes later, Sean came in with a bowl of microwave popcorn and two cans of soda.

"Thanks." Timmy said, taking a soda from Sean. "Aren't you hot in those jogging pants?"

"A little, I guess…what do you normally wear when its just you and Isaac?" Sean asked

"Nothing or briefs usually." Sean didn't say anything for a few minutes, then asked, "Do you care if I get out of these pants and shirt?"

"It's your house, dude. Do whatever you want." Timmy said.

Sean took the sweatpants and tee shirt off and sat on the bed in his briefs with Timmy, eating popcorn. Timmy took his shirt and shorts off, and threw them on top of Sean's clothing in a little pile on the chair by Sean's desk and computer.

Sean had seen Timmy's bare chest in the pool, of course, but had not studied him this closely, and dry. He had also seen Timmy only from the front, and now he was able to see his neighbors back closely, as he laid back on the bed, and Timmy sat up next to him. Faint lines and round spots of scar tissue were still visible on Timmy's skin, and Sean had enough awareness to know what they were, and how they got there.

Timmy had taken notice of Sean's lack of muscle tone, and how his briefs hung on him like those of a small boy. There was no bulge or basket present like Timmy had. Timmy guessed that Sean was one of those boys who would start maturing later.

He did not know that Melanie had been concerned when Sean confided to her that the other boys in his class at school were advancing, and he was not. That was two years ago. They had seen an endocrinologist who determined that Sean's testicles were fine, but his pituitary gland was most likely the culprit. In the meantime, he advised Melanie to wait until Sean turned fourteen, and would then meet the standard definition for delayed puberty. Sean had gotten a first round of testosterone cyprionate just before leaving New York. They had measured Sean's testicles and penis, and photographed him as a baseline, and he would repeat that process several times as his new endocrinologist continued his treatment regimen. Sean was chomping at the bit to see progress, and had been taking his own pictures once a week…

A funny scene on TV made both boys cackle, and Sean put his hand on Timmy's back as they laughed. Sean's palm was warm and felt good on Timmy. "Got any fingernails, Sean?" Timmy suggested, and Sean gave Timmy a quick scratch. "Oh, that feels great, thanks." Timmy said.

"Your skin looks dry…does it itch?" Sean asked.

"Yeah the pool water dries it out I think." Timmy replied, and changed position, so that he and Sean were laying on their backs, sharing the pillows on the bed. Several minutes later, Sean looked over when he heard snoring. Timmy had fallen asleep. Sean got up, turned the TV off, and threw a cover over both of them and fell asleep.

Isaac woke up alone the next morning, and remembered Timmy was next door. There was nothing urgent this Sunday morning, so he rolled over and went back to sleep.

Sean woke up and was back to back with Timmy in his bed. He smiled, and listened to Timmy snore lightly. This was the first time he had ever had anyone stay with him overnight. He drifted back to sleep. It was early.

Deep in sleep, Timmy began to become aware of a sensation in the skin on his back…as he swam into consciousness, he could tell that he was in bed with someone. This was not unusual, since he often slept next to Isaac, but this was different. This someone was doing something to him in his sleep, which meant that this was not Isaac.

His eyes cracked open a tiny amount, just enough for him to tell that he was not in his house…then he remembered…he was at Sean's next door, and must have fallen asleep while they were watching TV. That sensation he felt was Sean scratching his back again. He groaned and stretched and woke mostly up. He heard Sean say "It's alive!" in a voice like a ten year olds.

He replied "If you stop that, I'll kill you, Sean." as he rolled over onto his stomach to give Sean total access to his back. Rolled right over onto a stiff morning erection "Oh…Oww! Dammit!" he cursed as Sean giggled, straightened out his problem and let Sean continue for several minutes. "You're good at that, neighbor" Timmy said. "But, I gotta pee really bad…is your mom home yet?"

"I don't think so. She'll be home around noon if she goes in at three." Sean replied.

Timmy swung his legs out from under the blanket and made his way to the bathroom, keeping his back to Sean, and hoping Melanie was indeed still at work. Sean watched Timmy with mixed feelings. Part of him wanted to check out his new friend, and another part didn't want to be reminded that this younger boy was probably much more endowed than him. Sean had absolutely no experience of any kind in matters sexual, and had very little interest in them until very recently. He wasn't sure if he was interested in girls, but was very sure they wouldn't be interested in him. He often had thoughts about the other boys he knew, and wondered when he would begin to mature, and what that would be like. He wasn't sure that he could trust Timmy enough to talk to him about things like this just yet, but his younger neighbor seemed to have forgiven him for his meltdown the other day.

Timmy decided to sit because he didn't want to make a mess in Sean's bathroom, and also because this activity could take several minutes in his present state, and Timmy was still sleepy. When he finished, he washed his hands and went back to Sean's room. Sean was standing in the hallway outside the bathroom waiting for Timmy to come out, and went in to pee. Timmy noticed Sean's briefs were tented out about two or three inches, with a small dome in the fabric at the peak of the tent about as big around as a nickel.

Sean closed the door, and slipped his waistband down under his small smooth scrotum and looked down at his circumcised two and half inch penis. Even with a hard as a rock erection, his skin was loose and moved freely on the shaft, and he found this pleasurable activity was something he was doing more often since he had received his first testosterone injection. He also thought his penis was growing ever so slightly. The seamstress tape he had stashed in the bathroom vanity confirmed the fact that he had gained a quarter inch in girth since last week. His erect length was unchanged. He would have to log that on his spreadsheet. He relaxed as a tight, thin stream of urine issued from his penis and his erection subsided.

Timmy was sitting on the bed Indian style, waiting when Sean came back to the room. The tent was gone, and Sean's briefs were again flat as a board. Timmy noticed this, but not to the extent that he made it obvious he was checking Sean out.

"Okay, mister, it's my turn now." Timmy said.

"Huh, what are you talking about?" Sean asked, confused.

"Lay down for your back scratch, it's payback time." Timmy replied.

"Oh, cool, thanks!" Sean chirped and lay down on the bed. Timmy moved to straddle Sean's frame, and kneeled astride the older boy's thighs. He began to scratch Sean's smooth back in long strokes, and rub the skin, massaging it on the return strokes. Sean cooed and ahhed as the sheer pleasure of Timmy's technique completely relaxed him. He would giggle as Timmy's nails ran across his lower back, just above the waistband of his briefs.

"That tickles, Timmy!" Sean giggled.

"If that's too far down just tell me." Timmy said. Sean thought about that for a minute and asked, "How far down do you scratch backs?" Timmy drummed his fingers on Sean's ass cheeks, and Sean asked "Really? Wouldn't touching my ass be kinda gay?"

"Are you afraid that I would think you're gay if you liked it?" Timmy asked. Sean nodded. "Don't be Sean. It doesn't matter to me."

Sean laid there as Timmy continued his work, and then reached down and slid his briefs off his ass, exposing a perfectly smooth, white pair of globes to Timmy's eyes.

"I'll try it, I guess" Sean said. Timmy increased the length of his scratching strokes to include Sean's bubble, and massaged the gluteals on the up strokes, as Sean went into a state of bliss as Timmy switched his focus to massage. Timmy was erect now, enjoying the sight and feel of Sean's smooth ass cheeks under his fingers, and as he reached to massage Sean's shoulders his briefs would brush Sean's bare ass. Sean was fully aware of the state Timmy was in and tried to look back to catch a glimpse, but his neck could only turn so far. Sean's penis was hard as a rock tucked under him and being stimulated by Sean's slight movement on the bed caused by Timmy's rubbing strokes.

"Timmy….Have you uh,….done stuff, like messed around…with boys?" Sean asked.

"Yeah, some." Timmy replied. "You?" Sean shook his head "No, never." Sean replied.

"What about girls?" Sean asked.

"Did that too." Timmy said "You?" Sean shook his head again.

"What kind of stuff did you do with the girls?" Sean asked. He was horny as hell now and wanted details.

"The whole thing." Timmy replied.

"You f- fucked girls? How many?" Sean asked eagerly.

"Just one time." Timmy answered.

The phone rang just then, and Timmy got off Sean so he could answer it. Sean's little tent had returned, and he pulled his briefs up and ran to the kitchen to take the call. Timmy decided to get dressed and put his tee shirt and shorts back on.

Sean stood in the kitchen, talking to his mother.

"Oh, hi mom, how was work? Yeah, I'm up now. Just hanging with Timmy…last night. Yeah, we fell asleep watching a movie, so he slept here.

When are you coming home? Okay…"

"Timmy, are you hungry?" Timmy nodded.

"He says yes, mom…okay, love you , bye." Sean hung the phone up. "Mom's gonna bring home food and get six hours sleep before she has to go back."

"Well, do you want to see what we got going on today?" Timmy asked. "You might as well hang with us."

Sean smiled and nodded. He went back to his room to get dressed.

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