Castle Roland

Brave Lake Manor

by A.B.


Chapter 1

Published: 8 Apr 14

Brave Lake Manor

Characters in order of appearance:

Peter Jarrow: He is 26 at the beginning of the story.

Ryan Jarrow: Peter's brother. He is 13 at the start of the story.

Christian and Malthe Jarrow. Peter's and Ryan's father remarried. His new wife already had them from her previous marriage. They are seven at the start of the story.

Rick Meyers: Close, personal friend of Peter from when they were three years old. He is 26 at the start of the story.

George Anders: Close, personal friend of Peter from when they were six years old. He is 25 at the start of the story.

Benjamin White: Ryan's best friend in the city. He is 13 at the beginning of the story.


Why is it that whenever the telephone rings at night it is a bearer of bad news? The moment it starts ringing you know down to the seat of your soul that something has gone terribly wrong. That it will somehow never be the same again.

Those few seconds before you manage to pick it and groggily, half awake, half asleep say "Yes, who is it?" are usually the worse seconds of your life up to that point in any normal situation. But this was not a normal situation or a first time for Peter.

The first time he had been only thirteen when the phone rang at past midnight. His mother was supposed to give birth to his younger brother that day but he plainly didn't want to come out of his wet, warm place of bliss to the world of men and had taken a while longer than anticipated for Ryan to be born as his name would be. It took so long that it had gotten dark and his father had paid a taxi to drive Peter home. It was a school night after all and he would not miss school even for this. He would have to see his brother the next day after school.

His parents had gotten married at a very young age, only out of high school; they married but managed to finish their university degrees before deciding to have their first child at twenty two. Almost fourteen years later, she was again very unexpectedly pregnant and they decided to keep it.

Nine months later, the phone rang and shattered the night's silence. It took the heavy sleeper Peter a few minutes before he was awake enough to manage and get off of the snuggly, warm duvet, exit his room, walk to the corridor and pick up the phone.

"Y.... yes...what...who is it?" For a few seconds, he could hear nothing, not even his own heartbeat. For a few seconds, the silence was deafening and a knot had started tying itself on the base of his stomach.

" that you?" He asked, not knowing who else it could possibly be at that late hour? Who else could or would wake him up at this hour?

"P...Peter...son...I...your mother...there were complications...I need you to dress up...there...a taxi will come to pick you up in a few minutes...don't...don't forget to lock up the house..." His father's voice was almost a whisper, a shadow of its former loud, proud self, a sickening calm having rested in it.

"What complications? Is mom okay? The baby?" Peter asked now fully awake and worried.

"Please...son...just do as I tell you, I'll...tell you when you come here." His father had hanged up the phone before he could utter another word.

In almost auto-pilot mode, Peter had worn his clothes, locked the house and waited in the driveway for the taxi to arrive. A nagging feeling and a relentless knot in his stomach had him pacing up and down in agony until a few minutes later that seemed like an eternity, the taxi came.

He busted through the Hospital doors and corridors in a flash as he did a bee-line for his mother's room.

He didn't yet want to consciously admit it, that last vestige of hope mixed with denial would not let him think consciously of what he already knew deep down, the knot in his stomach increasing by each agonising, passing second as inevitable recognition and realisation as well as endless scenarios cancelling each other out in his mind made him think of what was going on.

When he saw his father's face clutched in his hands propped on his elbows he stopped dead on his tracks, as if an invisible, irresistible force had grabbed him by his heart and lungs in an un-removable vice and would not let him move. He wavered back and forth.

His father looked up with teary, shocked eyes, all life and joy drained from them, taken by a cold, unforgiving winter wind. He looked ten years older and at that moment realisation flooded through Peter's mind and body as his legs quivered and gave way under him. His mind numb from the overwhelming amount of information and psychological pain, his breathing ragged, his eyes blurry.

His knees hit the floor just at that precise moment when all colour faded from his face and that same unforgiving winter wind took his joy and happiness from his eyes.

He stared into nothing.

His mother was undoubtedly dead and all Peter could think, all he wished for with every fiber of his being, with all the remaining sanity was, "Please let my baby brother be alive, not both of them!"

He felt his father kneel and hug him tight.

His father had cried that night, he had not.

Eleven years later his father had eventually re-married into a funny, sweet, intelligent woman and both Peter and Ryan had been very happy that their father had finally been able to move on. Plus Lucinda, as her name was, had two incredibly cute, funny and lovable twin boys from her previous marriage that both brothers had almost instantly gotten attached to and treated them as if they were all brothers from the same parents. The boys had been apprehensive at first but had warmed up to the two brothers fast.

Now almost thirteen years after that first phone call, the phone was ringing again. It was almost three o'clock in the morning. It took Peter less than ten seconds to answer it. He no longer slept heavy. His stomach already clutched in a vice as he raised the speaker to his ear.

"Yes, what is it?" He asked hesitantly. His hands, uncommonly for him, trembled at the anticipation of whoever was on the other side of the call.

"Mr. Peter Jarrow?" An unknown male voice asked him.

"Yes, who is this?" He saw Ryan out of the corner of his eye, leaning against his room's door, his face a portrait of anxiety and agony.

"It's detective Peterson....I am afraid I have some bad news sir...your father and stepmother...the National Theater building caught on fire. Lucinda Jarrow was declared dead on the scene...your father is being transferred to the hospital right now with severe third degree burns all over his body and respiratory you want us to send a police car to escort you to the hospital sir?"

Peter didn't answer immediately; it took him a couple of seconds to register all of it.

"No...thank you officer..." He answered calmly and ended the call.

"What is wrong?" Ryan asked him in a worried voice. He was standing on the door, leaning against the wood in his pajamas.

Peter just looked at him for a second or two as he dry swallowed, his mouth not having any saliva remaining, then patted the bed next to him.

"There...there was an accident...a is is in the hospital with heavy injuries." He told his younger brother and held him close in a tight hug.

He felt his brother hug him back, "He will be alright! I know he will! He wouldn't leave us!!" Ryan said in a cracking yet hopeful voice, trying to be brave and not cry.

Peter rubbed his brother's back and just held each other.

"He never would willingly my may not be up to him...Ryan I need you to go wake up the twins...get yourselves dressed up while I get ready okay?" Peter spoke calmly to his brother. Somehow he just knew that come daylight he would have to provide for his brothers, that his father would not survive the night. That winter wind was back again even if it was mid-summer and had taken his joy and happiness.

"Why can't they stay here? They shouldn't see...their mother like that..."

"They won't see their mother Ryan, she is in the morgue and they won't be going down there, also if they stayed behind you would have to stay here with them, I can't leave them alone behind even if it's for just the night, not under these circumstances...not under any circumstances, they are too young, and I won't find a babysitter this late in the night...and you shouldn't be left alone for this either...I know what it feels like to have something like this pressing in on you, the agony and not knowing what is happening...the walls of the house threatening to collapse in on you. No for this we should all be together." He told his brother as he rubbed the younger boy's back in comforting circles with his hands.

Ryan held him for a bit more, "Okay...should...I...."

"No, I will tell them, it is my task to do...just wake them up and go get ready Ry..." Only Peter and the twins called him that, it was something between him and Peter since before he could walk, and then the twins had picked it up. Ryan nodded and left the room.

Peter sat on the bed's edge for a few seconds breathing deep, holding his head in his hands, trying to calm down, and thinking what he would have to do come morning before he stood up, removed his pajamas and started getting dressed.

He threw some water on his face to properly wake up and went to the twins' room. He knocked on the door.

He heard a groan coming from inside which he took for an answer and entered. The twins now at their seventh year had their own room with two single beds but they always ended up sleeping naked on the same bed. Peter didn't know if they were actually fooling around with each other at that young an age or just liked each other's body warmth and brotherly closeness in the dark of night. They were trying to get dressed now being in a half asleep, half awaken state.

He nodded for Ryan to go get dressed as well and sat in one of the beds as he finished for the twins to finish dressing up.

"What's up Peter? Why did you wake us?" Christian asked as he yawned battling to pass his hands through the t-shirt sleeves. Under different circumstances, he would be so cute and funny. Malthe just looked at him, his eyes making him feel transparent.

"Christian...Malthe...there's...there's something I need to tell you...can you please sit next to me?" He asked them gently, calmly. He knew he was about to bring their world crashing around them.

They sat next to him, now sensing that something was wrong, looking up at him with gathering worry in their young eyes.

Peter looked at them as he tried to gather his thoughts, the twins looked like two water droplets, identical in every aspect, from their grey-light blue eyes, to their longish, almost shoulder length dirty blond locks, fair complexion, oval shaped face, medium thin lips and button noses to their same weight as they stood at about one hundred and thirty centimeters from the ground and thirty kilos in weight, down to their cute pinkish belly buttons and their almost three centimeters dickies white grape sized ball sacks and not yet dropped balls. Their perky, bubble butt-cheeks also stood at the same height from the floor looking at the ceiling.

But that was where the similarities between them ended. Christian was far more outwardly and social than his brother, with a greater affinity in sports and Malthe was more inward and withdrawn and had a great liking towards math and physics even for his age.

"Boys...there...there...was an accident...our is in the hospital...your mother...she...she had to go to a long...trip...I don't know how long she will be gone...I...I am so sorry..." He said realising that he really wasn't good at this, that he had absolutely no idea what to say to them. On the other hand, how do you possibly get good at this other than being a police officer or doctor and have to notify the next of kin on so many occasions. He didn't envy them for that part of the job and now respected them even more for it.

"What...what do you mean she went for a trip? She would never leave us alone without telling us!!! Why would she leave without daddy? Or you and Ryan or us? I don't understand..." Christian asked with a trembling voice ready to cry. Peter didn't know what to say, for the first time in his life he was completely and utterly speechless. He looked at Christian's eyes and then to Malthe who just hugged his brother and whispered in his ear.

"Chris...he means...he means that she's dead bro...he just doesn't know how to tell us without making us sad..." Malthe said to his twin counterpart. Malthe's reasoning and advanced for his age logic and phrasing as well as his understanding of how Peter felt shocked the man.

"NO! No...that...that just can't be true!! SHE WOULDN'T...she wouldn't...she wouldn't..." Christian kept repeating in his brother's arms unable to comprehend how his mother, the person he loved most in the world could just be...gone from him. Peter hugged them both and held them there as they cried and tried to hug him so close as to seemingly merge with him, their need for love and comfort greatly increased from their already very loving and hugging nature. Malthe, more than Christian, seemed to be able to express his feelings more with hugs and soft kisses on the cheek rather than with words.

Peter waited there rocking his body back and forth gently, slowly trying to ease his youngest brothers' pain, to alleviate it somehow for a few more minutes while the twins cried, Christian trying to mumble how and why it just was not possible.

He pulled them back gently, "We are going to go to the hospital now...I need you to be the brave young men I know you to be okay?" He told them and wiped their tears from their rosy cheeks.

They drove to the hospital in silence, Ryan had sat in the back seat with Christian and Malthe to hug and comfort them as they tried in their young minds to comprehend what had happened although Peter knew from bitter experience the real realisation wouldn't hit them until later, maybe hours or even days and weeks but he would be there to help them deal with it when that moment came just like his father had been there for him when his mother had died.

He parked the car, they got out, locked, everything done in a state of autopilot.

Peter knew that come morning his life would be changed forever and he would have to make a singular choice, probably the hardest of his life. Abandon his brothers and have his life or raise them all and put his life on hold, he would have to get a job and quit his post-graduate degree on wine making and bottling. No it wasn't even a choice. He had already made it and he knew it.

They were his brothers and now more than ever they would stick together.

They entered the hospital reception area.

"Can you please tell us where we can find Mr. Daniel Jarrow or his attending doctor?" Peter asked one of the nurses there, behind the circular desk. His brothers stood right behind him. She smiled at him.

"Yes, just give me one second sir." She said and punched some buttons on the keyboard.

She looked up from the computer screen after a few seconds.

"He is still in surgery sir, you can go wait at the visitors' station three. It's on the second floor two corridors left from the elevator." She told him.

He nodded his appreciation to the nurse, motioned for the boys to follow him and headed for the elevator.

Once in the visitors' station three, a large room with lots of rows of chairs each united with the one left and right to it, and handles for the hands. The twins and Ryan sat in three chairs and he got a coffee from a vending machine.

He sat next to Ryan as he passed a hand around his brother's shoulders for comfort. The twins had hugged each other and soon dozed off. Until about an hour later, the twin door opened, a man in white coat and blue pants entered and called Peter's name and surname aloud. He looked very tired.

"Mr. Peter Jarrow?"

Peter and Ryan shot up and went to the doctor. The twins stirred, got up from the chairs and walked close to Peter, clutching his t-shirt from his sides.

He looked at them with a pained look on his face and Peter knew what he feared had come to pass.

"I am very sorry Mr. Jarrow...we tried everything we could but the injuries were too severe...we were unable to save his life..." The doctor said, his hands fidgeting awkwardly inside the pockets of his white coat.

Ryan and the twins had started sobbing and crying, clutched around him.

"Thank you doctor, I am sure you and your team did all that you could." He said to the doctor and turned his head to his brothers.

The doctor nodded and left after giving Peter a pat on the back trying to convey his condolences to him.

He walked his brothers back to the chairs and sat them there as he kneeled in front of them and allowed them to cry to their hearts' content.

"I will take care of all of you! You are all my brothers and I love you all the same, we will have to stick together now to each other, things will have to change some but I will try to do the best I can towards you all...your parents loved you all so much! You need to know that! In a way...--he swallowed trying to keep his emotions in check- in a way they will always be with us all, in our hearts, in our minds, in our thoughts and memories, all you have to do is close your eyes and think of them and you will see them." He whispered to the three boys as they slowly calmed down some.

Christian looked up to him as he whipped the dampness from his eyes and cheeks with the back of his hand.

"Promise me!" He said looking intensely at Peter who stood there not knowing what Christian was referring to.

"Promise you what Chris?" He asked the boy as he caressed his cheek affectionately.

"Promise me that you will never leave us!"

"Never! I will always be by your side! I will never leave you! I need you to understand that! I don't care what happens I will never abandon you, either of you! We are brothers." Peter said calmly but solemnly.

Christian tried to smile and nodded his head.

Peter waited for a few more minutes before motioning the boys to follow him.

He talked some with the reception nurse about some legal stuff, mostly asking them if they knew what was to follow, what he had to do about making arrangements for their parents funeral and other stuff.

The nurse answered what she could and knew and gave him a business card from the head of the hospital's legal department who would be better suited to service him.

Peter thanked her and they left.

The arrived back at home. He looked at his watch, it was near five o'clock.

"Do you feel like you want to get some more sleep?" He asked the twins and then looked at Ryan's location. He had sat on the couch looking at nothing specific towards the floor.

The twins yawned and nodded as they headed towards their room.

Peter sat on the couch next to Ryan.

"I...I don't think I can sleep right now...besides in an hour I'll have to get up and get ready for school...must we go today?" Ryan asked as he leaned his body until his head rested on Peter's shoulder.

"I know you want not to go, and it will probably be a shitty day whatever you do...but I have to run a lot of errands and won't be home much and staying at home won't solve what you're feeling right will...get better over time... I can tell you that from experience...but sitting on your bed or computer all day long won't help you...if you are amongst other people it might help get your mind off of things even for a few seconds or minutes each time." Peter told his brother as he turned his torso and passed a hand over Ryan's shoulders, hugging him.

"I guess..." Ryan said in almost a whisper lost in his thoughts.

Peter looked at his watch and thought that Rick should be awake by now. Rick and Peter had been friends since they were three, and with George since five years old they were the closest of friends. His father had always affectionately called them the three musketeers as the three friends were almost inseparable from each other and always protected and stood by each other through thin and thick.

"Yes who is it?" Asked a voice in a hurry.

"'s me..."

"What's up bud? You don't usually call at this everything alright?"

" really...there was an accident...a father and Lucinda are both dead..."

"Oh my god Peter...I am so have my deepest condolences...that is so you need me to come over? What can I do to help?!"

"Thank you I think I need to get out of the house for a while...clear my you want to meet in a coffee house near your job after I drop off my brothers at school?"

"Oh my god, your brothers...what are you going to do?"

"I will stand by them; shall we say Rico's at seven?"

"Yes, of course, do you want me to call George or will you?"

"Thanks but I'll call him, he should hear it from me..."

"My deepest condolences again Peter! I'll see you at seven." Peter could hear the concern and almost brotherly love from his friend.

"Thank you Rick, bye for now."

Next he called George and told him the news. George reacted in almost the exact same manner Rick had, as they both knew Peter and his family for about twenty or so years now, George had always been the most emotional of the three of them and he actually cried when Peter told him the news. He would also meet them at Rico's at seven.

"Ryan...go and get ready for school please, I'll make something for breakfast."

Ryan couldn't hold his emotions at bay anymore and although he wasn't angry at his brother, Peter received the full blast of his anger towards the world at the injustice of it all, of losing his father like that.


Peter sighed; he didn't begrudge his brother for reacting this way.

"I have to stay calm Ry...if I flip out who will take care of the three of you? Who will shoulder the responsibilities? I am far more sad and angry at the world and the universe for leaving us orphans than you will ever probably understand but I have to keep it in check, at least for that you three can be allowed to be kids, so that you can be able to express yourselves, so that hopefully I can provide you with the childhood and lives you deserve, now please...go get ready. I'll wake up the twins a bit later...if they are actually asleep...." He told his brother, his voice only betraying the surface of the depth of his sadness and despair as he tried not to burden his younger brother with all that.

"I...I...I never quite thought of it like that...I am sorry for snapping at you bro!" Ryan said in a whisper as he just stood there not knowing what to do.

"It's okay Ry. I understand. I don't blame you..."

Peter got up and gave his brother a squeeze on his shoulders as he walked to his father's room.

He gripped the door handle and stood there, afraid for a second to enter the room, as if he would disturb his father's ...essence; that the last vestige of his father would disappear through the open door forever if he opened it.

He shook his head and turned the handle opening the door hesitantly. He sat on their bed and looked through the night stand for the phone book. He had a lot of phone calls to make.

They didn't have any close relatives that he knew of on either his father's side, his deceased mother's side or Lucinda's but they had a lot of friends that he would have to call and notify after he had made the funeral arrangements and knew the date of the funeral. He also had to think of what to do next, find a job and fast, he had to call the university today and notify them that he would be dropping out and the reason behind this decision, he had to phone their lawyer and arrange a meeting, they had a lot of things to discuss and time would start pressing if he didn't resolve all matters as fast as circumstances allowed.

He started making notes and to-do lists so that he would not forget anything, thankfully he had inherited his mother's organizational skills which would help him now more than ever.

He started making calls to whoever he could or knew wouldn't be asleep at this hour.

He wrote some more things that would need doing and then got up taking the notepad and pen with him as he went to wake up the twins.

He knocked on their door and opened it slowly. He sat next to the bed the boys were tucked in seemingly asleep and caressed their cheeks until they opened their watery eyes.

"Hey my little angel's time to get ready for school." He told them, giving them each a kiss on his cheek.

"Okay..." Christian answered half-heartedly. Peter left the room as the twins started getting ready.

He made them something simple for breakfast; he knew they wouldn't have an appetite for anything complex anyways.

"Try and get your minds off of things...I know it won't be easy at all today, I love you, my little angel muffins!" He told his brothers as they opened the doors of the car and got out.

Ryan gave him a sort of hug between a man-hug and a more affectionate, brotherly hug and left the car; the twins hugged him from the back seat and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

They all walked towards the school building slowly.

Peter had phoned the principal's office while his brothers ate and told him of the situation and asked the man if he could talk to the boys' teachers and ask them to be more lenient for the next few days as they would be very trying for them. The principle had assured him he would do so.

He waited until they were inside the building and then left.

He arrived at Rico's and saw his friends waving at him.

They got up and hugged him affectionately and with sorrow in their eyes. They had known his parents all their lives as they practically grew up together. To Peter, Rick's and George's parents were like his own parents and the other two felt the same for Peter's parents.

They sat and started talking of what had happened, and what would Peter do now, how he could support his younger brothers without having to resort to giving them up to foster homes because he could not support them. The very thought sickened him and he was of an iron will not to allow that to happen.

"Do any of you two know where I can find a job fast? I don't mind us having to move to a smaller apartment if the wage is not enough to stay in the one we are now." Peter said about thirty minutes later, on the verge of panic as things looked grim.

"What if you moved to a large house instead?" George said.

"What part of I don't have a job and have the four of us to feed and clothe did you not get?" Peter asked as he almost laughed with his friend's insanely ludicrous idea.

"I seem to remember your grandfather leaving you his house in the country side near Brave Lake, no? Could you not all move in there?" George answered back.

Peter was stunned, how did he not think of it? Brave Lake Manor stood in the middle of 12,355 acres or 50,000 square meters of forest and agricultural land with a view of the Lake on one side and nothing but the Estate grounds all around with a mountain on the west end of the forest. A road connected the house to the main road system and the town was five minutes away by car. His great grandfather had managed to purchase the land little by little after he had come as an immigrant right after the first world war and having worked his ass off every day of his life, but through all that work he had managed to secure a better future for his son, who in return had built the Manor and up until the end of his grandfather's life it yielded more than 5,000 acres of agricultural produce. He and his parents would go there for their summer vacations up until he was five or six, then after that they both got promoted and didn't have the time anymore; he had gone there alone for one more summer before that was not possible either. His grandfather had come often to visit them and they had even all gone on a safari trip to Kenya when he was seven, a trip with both his friends and their parents as well.

All sorts of emotions crossed Peter's mind as vague memories flooded his mind of his time there, his endless exploratory daily "journey" to the agricultural part of the Estate and the forest part as he tried to suck it all in, every piece of information, every smell unknown to him, every animal he could find and study, everything seemed so magical in his young mind.

His grandfather had died when he was only nine, leaving forty nine percent of the Estate to him and fifty one percent to his father to manage and grow until Peter was of age.

When his mother had died his father had passed an additional percentage to Peter so that he would have fifty one percent and forty nine percent to Ryan and placed a close friend of his as the manager of the Estate not having the time anymore to manage it himself now having to work longer hours to provide solely for his sons.

Many a friend of his father had asked him why he didn't simply take money from the Estate so that they would live like kings. Each and every time his father had given them all the same answer.

"It is easy to take from what is already there, it is far more difficult to create something of your own, and that which is ready will eventually be depleted if not steadily replaced, if one has not built something of his own and the ready-made runs out then he has nothing, nothing with which to live, nothing with which to support and provide for his family, nothing for which to feel prideful of creating and maintaining. My sons can create something of their own there, or leave it untouched for their children to do so."

"Why didn't I think of that? I don't want to live off and deplete the Estate until there's nothing left but maybe I can create something there, there are 5,000 acres of agricultural land, it will not be easy at least in the beginning but maybe when it will bear fruits in the long run and maybe it will help get my brothers' minds of off things..." Peter spoke calm but fast, a plan formulating in his mind.

"I know that look!" Rick said smiling warmly, "You are preparing one of your plans!"

"Yes I am, I think, although I don't think they will accept the move so easily, they have their friends here, their school, known locations and memories."

"It is not up to them mate, you are now their legal guardian and for all intents and purposes, their parent until they grow up, finish whatever university degree they chose and have jobs of their own. They may or may not like it but they will follow up with it." George told him.

"Yes, I know, although for the twins I am not sure if I am their legal guardian yet, I have a meeting with my father's lawyer later on and will see what he tells me of thing is for sure, if I am not their legal guardian I will fight for custody with everything I've got."

"I am sure you will, you are like a lion, once you have your prey in sight you never let go or relent and I've never so far in my life have seen a person with more force of will than you." Rick said. Peter looked at him warmly, what Rick said reminded him of something but he just couldn't place it, something from years ago. He tried to remember but it kept slipping his mind, behind the fog of what he could remember.

"On the other hand...I could sell it all, use the money to finish my master's degree and purchases a house for us all to live in then use the rest of the money to invest them and get a job without the extreme anxiety."

"You could do that," Rick said in a serious tone, "but then you wouldn't be able to live with yourself." George completed Rick's sentence.

"No...I wouldn' two know me too well!" Peter said chuckling.

"Yeah well you know...having to put up with you for almost twenty years we have learned a thing or two." George said in a lighter tone as he tried to lighten the mood and he laughed.

"You? What of me? Having to tolerate your antics all these years?!" Peter continued the good hearted joke as he knew and appreciated what his friend was trying to do.

"You guys realise that you're behaving like a bunch of five year olds right?" Rick said as he tried to restrain himself from laughing and have a serious tone in his voice.

They looked each other as they burst into laughter.

"Said the three year old!!" George said.

"How are things with you and Kate?" Rick asked George.

"Good...really good actually, we have our one year together anniversary in the first of September and I'll pop the question then." George said as his eyes filled with joy. His friends' eyes bulged out at the information but looked happy as well for their friend.

"Question? You mean you're ready to hang your bachelor shoes and tie the knot?" Rick asked him with bulging eyes and dropped jaw.

"Yes...I've been thinking about it seriously the past couple of months. She is way too good for me, she is gorgeous... at least to my eyes, she is funny, smart and..." George was interrupted by Peter.

"...And she clearly seems to love you as well...although for the love of life or money I just can't understand why? You're ugly, a complete idiot, you have no manners..." George slapped the back of his shoulders as they all busted laughing.

"No! Wait you mean to tell me that fanatic Bachelor, "I will never marry when there's so much cunt around!" George is getting married?!?!" Rick said in midst laughing and ducked to avoid George's playful incoming slap.

George got serious as he spoke to Peter, "Honestly though, if you need anything of me, just ask, whatever hour and day."

"Yeah, likewise, friends stand by each other through thin and thick, and you've stood by us at every turn." Rick said as he looked at his friend.

"Thank you guys, I appreciate this! Truly! But for now it's just bureaucracy and then the movers will take care of the rest. As for the rest...hearts in pain take time to heal." He said as he looked nowhere in particular.

George and Rick patted his shoulders in compassion.

"I have to run guys, thanks for the cheering up and the advice." Peter said as he tried to leave money for the coffee but George stopped his hand before it exited his pocked.

"Don't mention it buddy. It's on me, go take care of things." They hugged him trying to show him the support and affection they felt towards him, their oldest and best friend.

The day seemed to fly by for Peter as he threw himself in putting his father's and Lucinda's affairs in order, he knew it would not end in one day but at least for a few brief seconds each time he was able to not constantly think of what had happened.

Meanwhile, Ryan's day was a complete shit storm. No matter what he did, he just could not get out of his mind that he was now an orphan, that his father was dead.

"At least I have Peter...I won't be going to no foster home...but what about the twins...they are not even half biologically our Peter will figure something out, I can't lose them if they go to a foster home...they far too cute and beautiful for such a place...and what if they have to break them apart...that would devastate them..." He was thinking as he headed towards his locker.

To boot it all every student seemed to treat him like he was just diagnosed with a terminal disease and they all had to be super polite and in stark contrast his math teacher had just drilled him a new one for having forgotten to bring his math text book with the solved homework in it. The class had fallen so silent you could hear their hearts as they half-expected him to explode at the teacher. He had just kept his chin up and looked at nowhere at particular waiting for the teacher to finish his ranting or the bell to ring and end his current suffering.

"Hey Ryan! Wait up!" It was Benjamin, his best friend. He had many friends, truth was, but he had been friends with Benjamin for over eight years and they were inseparable.

He turned round to see his friend running trying to catch up with him.

"Man! What a fucking asshole!!! He had no right to talk to you like that, even more so without any sort of explanation...I mean you are neither the first nor the last to forget his fucking textbook! And what the fuck is wrong with everyone? They are looking at you like you have cancer or something!"

Ryan looked at him straight in his eyes, as his eyes started to water up.

" father is dead...accident...yester..." He didn't get to finish his sentence as Benjamin hugged him real close not really giving a fuck on who saw this act of affection towards his best friend.

"Oh man I'm so sooo sorry!!! I...I don't know what to say!!! Is...are your brothers alright!?" He asked Ryan.

Ryan couldn't hold it in anymore as he started crying with heart-splitting wails and held on to his best friend for dear life. Benjamin kneeled them to the floor. A pack of boys looked at them strangely but said nothing.

"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOSERS LOOKING AT?!" Benjamin snapped at them and although they were a year older and a grade higher than them they just turned their heads the other way and started walking real fast. Benjamin may have been a year younger but he was vice captain of the wrestling team and well known throughout the school.

Benjamin rubbed Ryan's back until he calmed down.

"Y...yes my brothers are okay...only my dad and Lucinda were inside it happened...they're both...dead."

"At least you're not going to a fucking foster home..."

"Yes that's true...but I don't know about the twins..."

"Do they have other siblings or family?"

"No...not that I know of..."

"I...don't know Ryan...shit man I'm so sorry!! I'm sure Peter will think of something!"

"Thank you Ben...for everything!"

"Sure thing! Come on let's go to the bathroom I know what will get your mind off of things!" He said to his friend as he smiled wickedly.

"You really are a thrill junky! You want us to jerk off here at school!? What if someone finds us?"

"Who gives a fuck!!!?"

"I do you little fuck!!"

"Man you are far too shy!"

"No I'm not! But I don't like the idea of getting caught publically with my pants down and my best friend's hand molesting me!" Ryan had answered trying to sound more cheerful than he was. Benjamin brought that out on him.

"Molesting you?! Since when? I mean you taught this to me you jerk! You have practically rubbed mine raw! That's what I get for helping out a friend in need!! --He answered mockingly but then got serious again, - this is the last period; want me to come by your house after? Play some video games or something?"

Two years ago he had caught his brother jerking off at some porn. Peter wasn't aware that Ryan was watching him as he blissfully stroked his dick. Ryan had watched with saucer eyes at what his older brother was doing and then heard him moan as something white had come out of the tip of it, but it was not piss. He had been so intrigued by this that he had run to his room, dropped his pants and underwear and started rubbing his almost 2 inch dicky until it started feeling nice and also got larger. He had felt like butterflies in his stomach and he was sweating but then he had been horrified when he had felt like he was going to pee.

He had stopped playing with his penis and didn't dare it for a day or so until the urge to do it again was too much for him to continue ignoring. That second time he went in the bathroom and pointed his penis towards the open toilet and started playing with it again, soon the butterflies came and then the sweating and a soft moan from his lips and soon after that feeling that he had to pee, he continued toying with his boy toy until he felt an incredible feeling as his testicles got tighter yet and he had the instinctive need to move his hips back and forth really fast. To his great surprise there was no pee and no white liquid like his brother but he did have a great euphoric feeling that lasted him until he fell asleep seconds later.

He had been jerking off every night ever since...and as the time passed with increasing quantity during the day as well. Two weeks later he had shown his best friend Benjamin all about it. The poor kid hadn't known what "hit" him as Ryan had grabbed his cute, almost 2 inch penis and started moving his hand up and down faster and faster causing Benjamin all sorts of nice feelings as wave after wave of electric pleasure coursed through his young body. Eventually he had told Ryan to stop because he was about to pee and he didn't want to stain him but to his terrifying surprise Ryan had ignored him completely. Mere seconds after that he arched his back, closed his eyes as stars shot through his vision and had his first dry orgasm in his best friend's hand.

They had been jerking off each other's boy toys as often as their parents allowed them to see each other. It had become their new official best game.

"Sure...I have to go to my locker first though...I'll see you on the next class..." Ryan said as he started walking, looking down with his hands in his pockets.

Ben went with him, he wouldn't leave him alone this day at school and he knew that his best friend needed the company.

The twin's day was not fairing any much better as they still could not believe that their mommy would not be coming back, that they would not see her again, but at least they had each other and their friends who tried to cheer them up.

"Good morning Mr. Jarrow...please do come in, I am so sorry for your loss." his father's lawyer told him as he held out his hand.

"Call me Peter, thank you." Peter answered him as they shook hands.

They talked about whatever affairs he needed to settle and what some of his next steps would be and then finally they arrived at the subject Peter was most worried about.

"What of my youngest brothers? What happens to them? How do I become their legal guardian?"

"On that I actually have good news. I see neither your father nor Lucinda talked about this with you, but as you may know the twins' father is in prison and Lucinda had taken legal measures against him so that he can't come within five kilometers near the twins without going back to prison and this time not in isolation but within the general population. When they got married she added him as legal guardian to the boys in case something happened to her." He paused for a second for Peter to digest it.

"Yes, that I am aware of, as well as why that...thing is in prison...but what does that have to do with me gaining full custody of the twins?"

"About a week ago Lucinda and your father had an appointment with me and she changed it so that you were also added as a legal guardianship of the boys in case something happened to her and/or your father, she has also written a letter where she explains why she decided to take that action and that she was of sound mind and not in any duress when she made the decision and added some more stipulations to that effect, that means that there will be a hearing in two weeks where at 99% you will be appointed full custody of the boys. Since there are no close relatives of yours or on Lucinda's side I don't foresee us, you having any problems with the judge,

"if the twins can agree to talk on that hearing telling that they want you to be appointed as their legal guardian and take custody of them it will also dramatically help in your favour, but if they agree you cannot talk about the subject anymore with them or have Ryan talk it over with them, the judge will ask them if they were told what to say and if he doesn't believe what they say to be their own words then he will definitely reject you taking custody of them believing that you don't have their best intentions in mind." He finished talking and waited for Peter to ask any questions he might have.

"I understand, that is indeed good news, I will ask them today and call you to tell you of their decision. I understand not talking over their possible answers with them and why the judge would look down unfavourably on that."

"What would also greatly help would be if you had a job by then and was able to show means with which you will provide and support them."

"I already have a solution for that, we will move on my grandfather's house, I have studied agriculture and the Estate has about 5000 usable acres. I will use the Estate money until the first harvest comes through and I start replacing what we have used. I can create us a life there, and we can use it to start fresh away from an environment that would constantly remind us all of what happened."

"You are your father's son I see! Good, that is indeed good. Now on the matter of the funeral arrangements." The lawyer had obviously been satisfied with Peter's reposefulness and ability to find solutions fast, as well as adhering to his father's principles on creating something and not just eating up from the Estate until its bled dry.

They talked for an hour more until it was time for Peter to pick up his brothers from school.

"Hello condolences." Benjamin shook Peter's hand as they all entered the car. Peter didn't say anything to contest Benjamin coming home with them; he knew Ryan needed his friend's company.

"Thank you Benjamin."

They arrived home.

"Boys go have a shower until I prepare us lunch, then we need to talk about a few things okay? Benjamin please call your parents to tell them you'll be spending the afternoon here." He said to the twins as Ryan and Benjamin went and left their backpacks in Ryan's room, then came back to the living room where Ben called his mother on his mobile phone.

"Yes Peter..." The twins said and went to their room; Ryan mumbled something and headed to his room with his head down.

Peter made them scrambled eggs with tomato salad, not exactly a full meal but he had to go run some more errands after. He also had to go to the super market and get some stuff; he would make them something better for dinner.

They ate in virtual salience.

"How was your day at school?" Peter tried to start a conversation.

"Shit." Ryan said as he toyed with his fork and the remnants of his lunch.

"Language!" Peter said in a calm but no nonsense voice.

"Whatever...I got ripped a new one by the math teacher because I had forgotten my math textbook, everyone treated me like I had an incurable disease for which they all had to be super polite to me even if I know some of them don't really give a fuck how I feel...and all I could think of it was peachy!" Ryan said with a flat, unemotional, almost catatonic voice. The twins shrugged their shoulders but said nothing.

"I see...I've got some news I want to discuss with you all...first thing is, the funeral has been arranged for the day after tomorrow, so you will not be going to school that day, also some very good news is that it is almost 100% sure that I will be getting full custody of the twins, so will not lose each other, on that subject. Christian, Malthe, in two weeks if you agree on doing what I will ask you, and if you want for me to become your legal guardian, you will need to talk to the judge on why you would like to remain with us, Ryan and me, and answer whatever questions the judge might ask you. Do you want to do that?"

"Yes." Malthe stated simply.

"Yes...we...mommy had told us that we have no other known relatives and that we could trust you and Ryan and...daddy completely...I want us to all remain together! But what questions will the judge ask us? Can you help us?"

"Yes I want us to remain together as well, but no I cannot help you prepare your answers or talk about the hearing or what you will say to the judge with you, nor can Ryan."

"Why?" Christian asked.

"Because silly, if the judge believes that Peter wants to keep us what he had tried to do then he will not let him keep us and he will take us away from him." Malthe told his twin brother and again surprised Peter as well as Benjamin and Ryan with his knowledge and ahead-of-his-age-logic and thinking.

"I am not silly...but I understand now..." Christian said and poked his brother's ribs, who yelled and tried to poke his ribs in return.

"Finally I have some news you may not like boys...but I am afraid I don't really have much of a choice...after the funeral and school is over, after I settle most of the bureaucracy and dad's and Lucinda's affairs and other such stuff we are going to move away from the city..."

Ryan's head shot up from looking and doodling with the remnants of his lunch as he looked at Peter shocked.

"What? Why? Where?"

"Grandfather's house...well Manor in Brave's about three hours from the city by about three and a half hours by car if it has no traffic. I can use my knowledge of agriculture and create something will also serve as a new start for all of us away from all the memories..." Ryan interrupted him.

"Please don't do this! All my friends are here...anything and everyone I have ever known is here." He said with almost tears in his eyes. Benjamin squeezed his best friend's shoulder but said nothing. He knew it was not his place.

"You will make new friends there when school starts if not before. Benjamin and your friends can come over at weekends and whenever they like and their parents allow them, there is a train station at the village about five minutes from the house by car, and in the meanwhile by helping me restore the house, work the land and with whatever else needs doing you will get your mind off of things. I am not suggesting we do this. It is already done." Peter said calmly but his voice left not margin for interpretation or further discussion.

"Whatever..." Ryan said and left for his room. Benjamin followed him; Ryan banged the door behind them.

Ryan fell on his bed and just curled there in a fetal position not in a mood to do anything.

Benjamin sat on the edge of the bed and caressed his friend's shoulder, he was also very sad since he knew Ryan's father since he was a toddler but he would cry later on his mother's hug, not now in front of his best friend, now he needed to be strong for him.

"I will come as often as you want and my parents allow me, you know that right?" He asked Ryan. Ryan nodded his head in the affirmative.

"It's only three hours away...don't you remember how fun it had been when we had gone to the lake those two summers when we were nine and ten at the camp?" The camp was on the other side of the lake and the Manor could be seen but still Ryan had wanted to live there so much even if for summer vacations. They had made so many plans with Benjamin those two summers in the camp about how they would be the knights of the tower and save the princess and all the rest of things two nine and ten year olds think and fantasies about when they start creating stories and role-play them waving wooden sticks around as if they are Scottish Claymores (a type of medieval swords from Scotland), and thinking they are knights of the round table.

Ryan coughed as he tried to swallow, "Y...yes...I remember...that was fun!" He said as he tried to smile.

"Well then you remember how much you had wanted to live in the Manor and all the stories we made...I am sure you will have a great time there, maybe you'll have even more friends, and you will for once be the cool kid around!" He told him and poked his friend's ribs making him squirm and giggle despite himself.

"I am cool enough you dork!" He said as he tried to defend himself against Benjamin's pokes and tickling efforts. Ryan was giving Benjamin a good fight but Benjamin was better equipped to handle such a tussle on the bed as in wrestling most of the job was done in similar conditions albeit with more ferocity and not to tickle the opponent but nonetheless in similar conditions. Soon enough Benjamin had Ryan under him, belly down, Ryan's hands under his belly as he tickled the boy to no end. Ryan kept wiggling and moving around trying to set himself free and they laughed and laughed.

Ryan usually preferred to allow Benjamin to defend him against anyone who might want to bully him because he loved the show of affection from his best friend but Benjamin, even if he was in the school's wrestling team and pretty big for age at least in terms of size and weight/muscle wise, Ryan had nothing to be envious about and he was far from defenceless.

Peter had been training in Aikido, a Japanese defensive martial arts where the defender uses the strength and bulk of his/hers opponent against him with grips and throws, since he had been almost six years old so when Ryan turned six Peter enrolled him in the dojo's children's classes. Ryan had never missed a single training and had come to love it.

After seven years of continuous training of two times a week plus two Saturdays per month where after they had reached eleven and they trained with the adults, he was by no means defenceless or weak. In fact to his great pleasure and contentment he had spotted the first signs of a six pack a week ago after showering and looking himself on the mirror as he was jacking his almost three inches long dick raw like any healthy thirteen year old. That had brought a smile to his face.

He also had an affinity towards basketball, at least during breaks because he had never tried to enter the school team so far.

They mock battled and tickled each other until Ryan was on his back again with Benjamin on top of him, their faces only inches apart from each other, their breaths ragged and fast from all the activity, Benjamin's legs passed between Ryan's, forcing him to open them up, their crotches grinding together, Ben was holding his hands with his behind his head.

Then Ryan looked Benjamin straight in his hazel eyes and leaned forward planting his full pinkish lips on his best friend's blood red mouth.

He moaned in pleasure as he shoved his crotch forwards grinding it harder against Benjamin's. Benjamin moaned but pulled back looking all flustered and surprised.

Then it dawned to Ryan what he had done.

Ben could see the gradient of emotions pass through Ryan's face as he went from pleasure to recognition and then to plain horror and panic.

" mean please don't be angry at me...I...I didn't mean anything by it...just caught in the heat of the moment...I...I..." He stammered as he feared the worse but then his friend surprised him in return when he smiled back at him and groped his crotch giving it a good squeeze. He teased the cloth-covered morsel and boy pouch for a few seconds before moving his hand under Ryan's clothes and encircling it around the smooth boy prick. Ryan yelled from the surprise and moved his pelvis towards Ben's hand as his almost three inch boyhood came to life.

"No worries man, we know each other since kindergarten! Not going to hate you so easily! Heat of the moment indeed! Fuck you kiss well for a boy!" Ben said and tilted his face forward kissing Ryan back. They both moaned as Ryan's hand went under his friend's pants and underpants searching for Ben's three inch hardening, smooth dick and started stroking it, reciprocating his friend's actions on his own boydick.

Ben moaned and shoved his tongue up against Ryan's teeth until the inexperienced boy took the hint and opened his mouth to the mint flavoured fleshy invader.

They kissed and stroked each other, their tongues twirling and dancing. Their hips making fucking motions by instinct as they tried to grind their cloth-covered crotches onto each other. Ben removed his hand from Ryan's boy-tube making Ryan groan disappointedly in his mouth, but before Ryan could break the kiss Ben squeezed his balls and started playing with them in his fingers. Ryan moaned and felt his boyprick jerk happily. He would soon cum, he could feel it in his toes. He imitated his friend and started squeezing and playing with Ben's saggy boy sack. He gave them a few good squeezes before returning to Ben's steel hard extension. He jerked him off fast feeling both of them getting close to cumming, their breaths short and rugged, perspiration trickling down their temples and past their ear lobes down onto the pillows below. Ben's hand returned to Ryan's teenage dick and stared jerking him off faster and faster.

"Ohhhh shhiittt!!!" Ryan thought at all the sensations and feelings emanating from his nether area and blasting his brains to bits and felt his body tense up and then whimpered and moaned in Ben's mouth as wave after wave of pleasure flew threw him from his dick to his brain. His pelvis started rocking back and forth real fast fucking Ben's stroking fist and squirted one semitransparent pearl sized cum droplet.

Ben's dick was wrapped in Ryan's hand when Ryan experienced his orgasm which made his hand tense up and squeeze the poor appendage like a boa constrictor, then without letting go the spasms of his orgasm made him stroke Ben faster. Ben couldn't hold it any more as he also felt his toes curb, his body tensed and his pelvis shove forwards as his body was shocked from electrical signals of near perfect orgasmic pleasure.

Ben collapsed on top of Ryan as they heaved and panted, their minds wrapped in post-orgasmic bliss. A silly post-orgasmic-induced grin forming on their mouths.

Ben rolled over next to Ryan as he tried to breathe.

"Fuck! That was fucking awesome shit!! I had no idea that getting stroked by another one's hand was so fucking great!! I mean I've only like kissed a couple of girls so far...but they won't even let me touch their boobs much less stroke me...I can't wait to get older!!" Ben remarked in between heavy breaths and laughed.

"I...that was amazing!!!" Ryan mumbled still smiling in his post-orgasmic high, he lowered his legs slowly as his boy tube started deflating fast.

"You are an awesome kisser!! You will surely make a girl happy one day buddy!!" Ben said as he gave his boyhood a couple of tugs, it had deflated and was becoming uncomfortable.

Ryan's face darkened slightly, "I.... ehhh...Ben.... wasn't this like know...what we just did?"

"What? Fuck no man!! We're teenagers, and teenagers fool around with each other dad told me when we had that whole conversation a couple years know about sex and all...and he told me not to worry if anything like this happened because all teenagers jerk their dicks and then fool around with each other to some degree since most of them can't find a willing girl at that age you worries..."

"Oh...okay...I guess..." Ryan shrugged his shoulders and got up on his hands as he inspected his lower body.

"Fuck! Look at this undies is all wet!" He said in mock anger and looked to his friend.

"Yeah mine too but it was well worth it!! You kiss fucking awesome!!" Ben said again as he headed for the bathroom to clean up.

"Well you know...all in a day's work..." Ryan quipped back with a smile and blushed crimson red.

They played some more video games and then spend some time with the twins, more with Christian as Malthe was mostly concentrated on his textbook, for a couple years now he always seemed to have a textbook where he always wrote on, although no one knew what as he would allow no one to see what was in there, not even his mother and no one from the family had ever gone to open it while he slept, not even Christian the prankster, teaser of a twin brother, he would wear his headphones and get lost in his world.

Peter was gone for the greater part of the day running errands. He put up the car for sale to purchase a larger one, an SUV since they would be moving to the country side and he also needed the extra space as they were four of them now.

The funeral was a sombre one, with lots of people that knew Gabriel, Peter's and Ryan's father, and Lucinda. Ryan wished they would stop trying to cheer him up for the love of god! He had just lost his father, there was nothing these people could do to cheer him up, at least Peter understood this and wasn't trying to cheer up anyone, he shook the hands offered, listened to what each of them had to say and moved on until Rick's and George's parents walked to him.

"Your father was a good man and a great father Peter; we are honoured to have met him and called him a friend." George's father said.

"Thank you Mr. Anders, yes he was a great father and really was there for us when...when our mother died, even if he had to work longer hours to support us." Peter answered as George's mother hugged him and patted his shoulders affectionately.

"He was a good man your father!" Rick's father said, "I still remember that trip to Kenya we all took, remember Cynthia? It was the only time in our boys' history that I saw them exhausted and not their usual hyperactive selves." They all laughed.

"Yeah that was a fun vacations trip." Rick said although truth be said he remembered little.

Ryan and the twins, with most of the people attending cried, Peter held on to his brothers' shoulders but cried not.

After all the guests had left he kneeled in front of the covered up grave, touched the marble and whispered something to his father who lay next to his mother on one side and Lucinda on the other and remained silent in his thoughts.

Ryan and the twins stood at his side. He stood up and placed a hand on each of their shoulders, one on Ryan's and one across both the twins' shoulders.

"I will hurt for quite some time...I know you would like to stay here and in the house we currently live in, to hold on to their essence for as long as possible...but...moving away, starting new will make this easier on all of us, but I'll make you this promise, anytime you want to'll drive you here without complaint or hesitation at least until each of you gets your driving licenses and can come here on your own." He told them, his voice somber but compassionate.

Ryan said nothing; the twins nodded their heads and stifled a sob and a tear.

The rest of the month pasted in a haze of school for the boys, and bureaucracy for Peter. He sold the car and bought an SUV, and placed their house for sale, giving the realtor a set of keys so he wouldn't have to come over each time a client wanted to see the house. The money from the house sale he would divide into three parts and add them to the college funds of Ryan and the twins. The hearing went well, the judge heard the twins each of them alone with the other one along with Ryan and Peter not being in the room so that he would be sure that the twin speaking was not in any way influenced even by a covert look or facial expression, he even had Peter and Ryan answer questions and in the end he gave Peter full custody with one stipulation, that around the six months a social worker would conduct a random check in on the boys and if all was as they should be then Peter's custody of the twins would be finalised.

All was set for their move to Brave Lake. The movers came and picked up everything from the house, packaged it. Peter had called the Estate's manager a few weeks back to tell him of the changes and plans, and that he was grateful of his service so far but his services would no longer be required but he would receive a large severance package. Something in the guy's speech and general behaviour had made Peter uneasy. There was something he had not liked about it.

They said their goodbyes to the neighborhood, neighbors and house and left. The twins were the most excited about the move, the thought of living in a Manor, of being surrounded by a forest, a lake and land in general they could run about, explore and play without fear or worry greatly decreasing their sadness of leaving behind their current house, school and friends, besides like Christian had said, "We can always make more friends!"

End of chapter 1. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it and that you felt what I felt while writing it.

This was a heavy sort of chapter but the next ones will be different, they will have their share of fun, joy and sadness like any real life does.

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