Brave Lake Manor

by AB

Chapter 2: Repairing What is Broken

After three hours, they arrived at the Lake junction. One road led to the Estate and Manor, one led to the Brave Lake Village and another to someplace else. The roads were no longer paved and in some disrepair signifying that they had long since left the city and entered the countryside; weeds and shoulder-high bushes had overtaken the sides of the road.

"This is such a cool car!" Christian said for the umpteenth time grinning from ear to ear as he flicked a switch and the TV on the back of the front seat turned off. His legs were swivelling back and forth under the car seat, hugging Malthe to his right, his head on his twin brother's neck. Malthe was writing something on his textpad, sketching something that, for now, made sense only to him.

"Aren't we going to the village first?" Ryan asked, perplexed by Peter taking a turn that took them away from the crossing that led to the road to Brave Lake Village.

"No, we need to leave our stuff, meet what staff is around and I need to get rid of the manager. I really didn't like his attitude on the phone," Peter answered as he made a turn into the road going towards the Estate. A minute later, they saw a stone wall with huge metal rails ending in spear heads. The wall looked abandoned and rundown as if it stood for centuries, but Peter knew that was not the case, so it was only a matter of disrepair. A huge, heavy looking green metal double gate stood closed. Above the gate, pinned in an arch of metal ivy, was a Latin inscription. "Fortis lacum manerium, ubi habitant leonum."

"What does that mean, Peter?" Christian asked, scrunching his eyebrows together and wriggling his cute nose trying to better read the inscription as he bent forward to get a closer look at it.

"Brave Lake Manor, where lions dwell," Malthe said just as Peter opened his mouth to answer, which he closed, very surprised at Malthe's knowledge.

He turned his torso and placed a hand on the head of the co-driver's seat as he gazed at Malthe, looking astonished.

"When did you learn Latin?" he asked in awe, turning his head back to see the younger boy. Ryan was looking back at Malthe as well. Christian couldn't understand their surprise. There weren't man things in this world that Malthe couldn't learn if he wanted. He thought he just seemed to be able to absorb knowledge and information and comprehend it like he could drink water.

Malthe shrugged his shoulders and tilted his head back down to his textbook.

Peter shook his head and looked over at Ryan who also just shrugged his shoulders and looked forwards before unbuckling his seat belt and opening the car door.

He went to the door and started pushing it inwards. There was a screeching sound as the metal door started turning on hinges that had not been oiled for many years that made the back of his hair stand out. He proceeded to push the other half of the door with some effort. The doors were made of solid metal and light they were not.

Ryan wiped his forehead with the back of his hand to clear the sweat and walked back to the car.

Half an hour later, after a winding road, originally through dense forest and then flat agricultural land, the car came before the Manor that looked to be in bad disrepair and having lost its old pride and majesty.

Peter parked the car and took in the view of the Manor house in front of him.

The gravel of the road and parking gave way to a blue coloured veined granite path that led to the front entrance's steps that were made out of green polished marble. On the top of the stairs, eight large marble columns were joined by a gothic style ribbed vault of joined pointed arches in a circle shaped entrance. Above the vault, eight much smaller columns supported a balcony with richly sculpted metal ivy railings with flowers on the endings.

He remembered how he would run on the path and jump into his grandfather's waiting arms.

The main front door to the Manor was a huge two panelled metal door with square windows from top to bottom. The stained glass depicted a lion's life from birth to death in exquisite detail, each square depicting a different scene.

He could never sway that door when he was younger. he always tried, if for no other reason than to prove that he had grown up somewhat since the last time he had visited, but he could never muster it. Now he would have no problem, being so much older and stronger from years of aikido training and various other activities.

In the centre of the vault, a pendant bowl type of chandelier hung from the ceiling spreading light upwards. It gave the entrance less light than other types of chandeliers, but it also gave it some sort of mystique and personality.

"Enter if you dare," Peter thought as his eyes climbed upwards.

The Manor had a basement where the kitchen, pantry and wine cellar as well as the servants' quarters were. The ground level housed the living room, dining room and library as well as two smaller rooms. The first floor housed more than twenty rooms and every single one had its own bathroom. The second floor housed some ten more rooms, a children's playroom, some utility rooms and a drawing room that faced the east for better light during the most part of the day. Finally, the attic housed the master bedroom of the "master" of the Manor, the only room in the Manor that had windows on all four compass directions.

Peter remembered how that used to be his grandparents' room and how, when he was younger and would visit, he would love to sleep in their bed, under the wooden supports of the roof and dream of a day and age when it would be his room. A small smile swept his lips in the knowledge that now it would be his room.

The Manor was built from grey and dark grey bricks that were painted over white tying them up nicely with the various green columns, stained windows, metal ivy sculpted railings and Ashdowne clay roof tiles.

To the right of the Manor was a smaller building that was used as a warehouse/storage house for the gardening and various other stuff that needed to be stored like salt and shovels for the winter months so that the marble entrance and slate path did not freeze and become slippery.

How many times had he and his two best friends hidden in the little storage building for whatever mischief or sexual experimentation they did not feel safe doing in one of the many rooms of the Manor.

His eyes came down to Earth and viewed the various people in front of him. Ryan and the twins had gotten out of the car and were stretching their legs.

"WOW!! This house is wicked!!" Christian exclaimed grinning from ear to ear, thinking of the endless hours of exploration he would field before the month was gone and over.

Christian may not have been related by blood to him, but Peter smiled as he remembered his reactions that were quite similar at that age. Each time he would visit, he would spend an inordinate amount of hours exploring the Manor and the forest and land surrounding it, leaving no stone unturned, no nook and cranny undiscovered as he searched for all the fantasies of his young mind, full of treasure, sword-wielding foes, magic, unicorns and other creatures of myth and legend and the fair maiden in distress to be saved by him.

A man spoke to him after making a short bow with his head and torso.

"Sir, my name is Giles Daren. I am pleased to see you again after so many years. I am the Manor's butler." Peter knew that he was sixty years old, but the man didn't look it. He was tall, thin and with a military sort of standing; his spine straight and his chin looking up in pride of his position in the household and his years of dedicated service. His hair had silvered out by now, but it was his only feature that betrayed his age as his face still was wrinkle free.

"Hello, Giles. It has been long since my last visit, but you have not changed much." Peter greeted him and extended his hand for a handshake. Giles hesitated for a moment, but when he saw the heartfelt smile in Peter's face, he shook it with a strong grip.

"Sir is too kind…" Giles started speaking but Peter raised a hand and interrupted him.

"Peter will do. I am not accustomed to being spoken to like royalty. You may work for me, so if you must absolutely speak so formally, Mr. Jarrow will suffice," he said calmly. He didn't want to offend the old man's beliefs or years of work. He just wanted him to understand where he stood and how things would be done from now on.

"Yes si… Mr. Jarrow," Giles said with a smile on his face. Peter was so like his grandfather; kind, calm but everyone knew what he felt and what he liked, and not to cross him.

"Mr. Kerry, Mr. Faring, Mr. Hughes will be yours and your brothers' valets," Giles said pointing to three men.

"No. Neither of us is accustomed to that either. We are used to doing things our own way. If the three gentlemen can be employed in other areas of the Manor or Estate, then they can remain, otherwise I am afraid we will have to terminate their employment," Peter said.

"It is most unorthodox, sir, but I understand. Yes there are other jobs for them in the Estate and the Manor."

Giles went over the remaining staff, the maids, the cook, the chauffeur, the gardener and pool boy.

Peter didn't have any other objections other than he would drive when he could, but if he was not around, or could not drive one of his brothers to someplace, then Mr. Cox could drive him/them.

"Mr. Giles, where is Mr. Williams? I was expecting to see him," Peter asked in a displeased voice.

"He should already be here, Mr. Jarrow. This is totally unprofessional of him and I would not have him in my service, sir, but your father seemed to think a friend of him, sir."

"Yes…well things change when you're not watching, Mr. Giles," Peter said with an evil smirk on his face.

Then a rather short man came walking at his leisure from the main entrance of the house.

Ryan thought he looked sleazy and like…well like Wormtail from the Harry Potter franchise. Frankly, it made the fuzz on the back of his neck stand as if touched by static electricity.

"He is no friend of Peter's, sire, never was, but even the cleverest of men can be manipulated when not presented with all the variables," Malthe whispered but only Christian heard him.

"Ahh!! Peter so good to see y…" Mr. Williams started saying with a fake smile and an even more fake sweet undertone in his voice, but he was cut off by Peter who had already formed a bad impression on the man when they had talked over the phone a few weeks ago, and now he was starting to shimmer.

"It is Mr. Jarrow to you, Mr. Williams, and I doubt you'll be very glad to see me when I've finished talking. As I told you a few weeks ago, I will no longer be requiring your services, as we're going to be living here from now on and not going to need a manager to run the Estate any more. I wish to thank you for your long years of service, but it has come to an end. Please vacate the Manor by the end of business day," he said in a voice that left little to interpretation.

Mr. Williams clenched his fists by his sides and Ryan could swear that he could actually see fumes come out of his ears and nostrils.

"NO!! THAT IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!! I HAVE GIVEN THIS RUIN AND YOUR BASTARD OF A FATHER ALMOST TWENTY YEARS OF MY CAREER! I WILL N…" Mr. Williams did not get to finish what he was saying as in a blur of movement, Peter closed the short distance between them and with one clenched fist around the man's shirt collar, he raised him off the ground; his short, chubby and almost shapeless feet no longer touching it as he held him inches from his face while the man flayed his hands in all directions trying to regain his balance as vertigo had swept over him by the swiftness of the action.

"You will never talk to me like that again, and you will never talk about my father like that in front of me again, or I will tear you to shreds like the rat that you are. Now, you will go to your room, gather your things and leave. You were supposed to look after and manage the Manor and Estate, but the outer walls are in bad disrepair, the roof from what I can see is almost entirely collapsed, the metal is rusting, and I bet there will be further disrepair inside the Manor and the Estate.

"You have failed your job, and if you so didn't like it working for my father as a manager for the Manor and the Estate, you could have always quit and searched for employment elsewhere. If I find any financial embezzlement or anything improper, I will make sure you never see the light of day again and are locked in prison for a very long time. And trust me, the friend I will send the Estate financial records to will look into them like a hawk on the prowl. He is extremely meticulous, and we've been close friends since we were three, so he will pay extra attention. Do I make myself, absolutely crystal clear, worm?" Peter spoke with authority but without betraying much of his emotions in the tone of voice he used. His voice was heard almost like a lion's growl though, ready to act, its muscles relaxed and yet full of energy.

Mr. Williams gulped and whined, nodding his head up and down in short defined motions indicating his understanding to what Peter was telling him. Peter released him as if he was touching filth and he fell in his shapeless almost pear shaped behind on the granite.

Within seconds, he had gotten up and disappeared inside the house. Peter clasped his hands together as if to clear away dirt from them and turned to Mr. Giles smiling. Mr. Giles was doing his best not to show the measure of his pleasure at this turn of events and stay to the professional standard he had used his entire career from back when he had been hired by Peter's grandfather.

"Guys, go find yourselves what rooms you want to live in, pick any you like but the top one in the attic is mine," he told them making Christian groan as if Christmas had been cancelled from the announcement that he could not have the attic room.

Ryan tickled him making him squirm and giggle as he ran inside the house making Ryan chase after him.

Malthe followed placing his textpad and pencil inside his cult Swedish backpack he had gotten for his last birthday and now treasured as the last gift from his parents. Well, Peter's and Ryan's father had become his and Christian's father very soon after his mother had married him, having accepted him and his twin brother as if they were his own from the very first moment he met them.

He hugged his backpack close to his chest as he walked in the Manor after his brothers. His eyes darting everywhere around taking in all the new surroundings, strange noises, and unseen wonder that only a child's eyes can see in the world.

"Young Master Malthe doesn't speak much, does he?" Mr. Giles inquired out of interest for his new Master.

Peter chuckled, "No. Like Plato said, wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something. Malthe is similar. He speaks only when he must and has something to say. He usually prefers to stay silent, shrug his shoulders and hug to convey his emotions."

"I see, good to know then, Mr. Jarrow," Mr. Giles said. Their conversation continued as they entered the Manor's front doors.

Meanwhile, Ryan and the twins were on the first floor searching the empty rooms one by one to each find what room they wanted to live in, although they all knew that Christian and Malthe would at least for a few years yet, until boys or girls entered their lives sexually and they needed privacy even from each other, would sleep together at night sharing the warmth and furthering their twin bond.

"I like this room!" Christian exclaimed while jumping up and down giggling.

"You've said that about the last ten rooms you saw Chris!" Ryan told him chuckling, shaking his head left and right in disbelief of the youngster's energy and almost gold-fish change of attention.

"But they are all sooooo nice!! Can't we sleep every night in a different room Ry?!" Christian chirped as he emerged from yet another room's mahogany, glossy door.

All doors had such exquisite carvings on them that one could sit and stare each of them individually lost in the master work of the carver's art; each door had been carved after a different renaissance painting, this room was carved after Caravaggio's "Amor Vincit Omnia", the next one after Tintoretto's "Veronica Franco" and so on.

"What do you think, Chris? Come on all rooms are pretty much the same, pick one already! I found the one I want!" Ryan said smiling.

He had just opened a door leading to the room that exited above the front entrance vault. It was the only room in the Manor except the Attic Master bedroom that had its own full sized balcony instead of a window with a small balcony comprising of a balustrade supported at either end by plinths on console brackets, barely large enough to fit a few potted plants or support one's head on a hand or elbow and look outside.

"Hey I want this one! I like it!" Christian said poking his tongue out at Ryan who grabbed him and started tickling him.

"Well you can't have it! This is now my room. Besides, as we've established you like all rooms, so go pick another one Christian!" he told the writhing and squirming boy as it laughed and giggled in his hands trying to escape the tickling torture he had so abruptly been put under.

"Christian, I have found our rooms," Malthe said in his usual quiet, steady voice.

"Ohh!! Which ones!?" Christian squealed and ran over to his twin counterpart as Ryan released him, dropped his old school backpack on the floor to mark his terrain and "ownership" of the room and followed his brothers.

Ryan followed the twins in the rooms Malthe had picked. They were on the other side of the first floor main corridor on the left. They passed the marble staircase connecting the ground floor with the first, second and attic floors. The polished pink marble with blue hued veins sparkled brilliantly, the railings carved to resemble wild roses from metal and wood ending in a larger twisting flower on the top of each floor, in the inner flower there was a light source and the petals were out of patterned, glazed glass of different colours.

His forefathers had certainly built a house one loved to live in, to dream in, to wonder and explore. When they were driving to the Manor, Ryan had been afraid that living in such a large house would feel distant, cold and emotionless, but now, having seen the house inside out, having walked inside it, even in the bad state of disrepair that the Manor was currently in, with paint coming off the walls and holes in the wooden room floors, he was filled with wonder, with a need to be happy again, to love and be loved, to create new memories.

Malthe opened a door with a self-portrait of Da Vinci originally painted by Da Vinci in 1512 A.D. carved in it and entered a spacious corner room. The room had a window on each side of the corner, and the roof was different from all the other rooms on the floor as it was not a flat surface for a room or corridor on the second floor, but instead it was a cone shaped roof like Peter's room on the attic above the second floor.

The room was empty and void of furniture except a very old looking desk that was missing a leg, standing on three legs and touching the wall next to the bathroom door so that it did not fall on the ground. The desk's lower legs were carved to look like a large cat's paws with the claws outside; the legs themselves had intricate leaf carvings all the way to the main desk's body. The desk itself had a panel that closed and opened downwards, when it was opened it created a surface one could write or read on. On each side there were two handles that one pulled to extend two wooden rectangular shaped blocks that the panel touched on. The inside of the panel had a divide, half of the inner panel being of polished wood to write on and the other half had a blue felt material to create friction so that items like an ink bottle could not glide off and shatter on the floor. In the inside of the desk there were various shelves and cupboards for storing items.

On the other wall on the right, it had an inter-connecting door to another room.

"Pity the desk isn't in better shape, it's beautiful," Ryan told no one in particular.

"I am keeping it, we will have it repaired," Malthe said with finality in his voice.

"If you like it so much, I am sure Peter can find someone in the village to repair it," Ryan told him ruffling his hair playfully.

"There is, just off the main road, Peter will use them anyways for any wood related repairs on the Manor," Malthe answered.

"I usually can't get an answer of more than three words out of you and for this old desk you have spoken so much!" Ryan said almost exasperated, but he was grinning.

Malthe looked at him straight in his hazel eyes. "You usually do not provide me with ample stimulation to speak to such length," he said in a semi playful semiserious tone.

Ryan looked at him in disbelief, his jaw now slightly open in shock.

"Ehhh…how old are you again?" He teased or at least tried to tease his younger brother. Christian giggled as he tried to explore every aspect of the room, the corners, the windows, opening them up to see outside, the ceiling with geometric shapes painted and now fading away like most of the ceilings in the Manor.

"I have existed for seven orbital circulations of the Earth around the sun," Malthe said causing Christian to giggle even more heavily and poke his tongue at Ryan who shook his head.

"So why this room?" Christian asked.

"Because it faces the east and north, meaning I'll have good natural light throughout the day, the room on the right connects with this one with an inner door, I like the carvings on the doors, I like corner rooms, and it's far away from Ryan's room so we all have enough privacy when we must but are close when we want to interrupt. Also, I have no other room on top of me, to the right the bathroom is between my room and the other room, and I just like it. This is my room," he said analysing on why he liked this particular room.

"Fair enough… I have a headache!" Ryan giggled and exited the room heading back to his own room. He spent some time there picturing how and where he wanted his furniture and stuff placed until he heard Peter calling them from downstairs.

"Guys, come on, we're going to town!" he told them. As usual, first on the scene was Christian jumping up and down excitedly and playfully followed by Ryan who walked with his hands in his pockets and Malthe with his backpack on his chest.

"So, I'm thinking you should all have your bikes here, not much point in driving you everywhere when everywhere is so close," Peter told them as he drove the fifteen minutes' drive to Brave Lake Village.

"YAY!!!" Christian exclaimed and jumped up and down on the back seat making Ryan giggle and Peter chuckle at his vibrancy.

Peter parked the car outside a diner, and they walked to the bike shop that was a few meters away.

"Okay, guys, select your bikes," he told them and waited by the counter as he chatted up the owner.

Ryan grinned and started going about the shop looking at the various bikes. He didn't want a mountain bike, he wanted a tall BMX. After about thirty minutes, he found the one he wanted. The body of the bike was all pearl black made out of carbon fibers and aluminum with the handles, the insides of the wheels, pedals being cyan blue.

Malthe and Christian had already picked their own bikes with Malthe going for a BMX, a short one for his age group that was with a white body and green handles and pedals and Christian had gone for a tricks BMX that Peter knew he would be breaking and changing before the year was over.

"Thanks, bro!" they said grinning from ear to ear as he paid for the bikes. Christian hugged him.

"Is there any sort of coffee house or similar venue where people my age hang out?" Ryan asked the store owner.

"Yes, on the other side of this street past the diner, it's called 'Joey's smoothies'. You can't miss it with all the teenagers in and around the place," the store owner told him smiling.

"Thank you. I'm guessing you have arrangements to make here for the repairs, right?" He thanked the man and turned his head to Peter.

"Yes, I have to run quite a few errands here in town and not just for the Manor, but to enroll you three to school for next year and such… You'll be at the smoothie place?" Peter replied in his usual calm demeanour and gave Ryan some money.

"Yeah… although I dunno for how long…"

"Well, I'll come and find you in the smoothie place if I finish first, if you finish first and are bored you can always ride back to the Manor on your new bikes."

"Yeah okay…" Ryan took his bike and followed by the twins on their bikes they rode to the smoothie place.

The store owner was correct about not being able to miss it with all the children and teenagers about.

They locked their bikes in one of the bike stands outside the shop, placed their newly acquired helmets in their backpacks and entered the store.

They proceeded to the counter and looked at the various smoothie combinations and flavours. Ryan knew that many of the teenagers were eyeing the new arrivals, trying to determine if they would be cool enough to be included in their circle of friends.

"Hello there, new in town? Haven't seen you before." A man in his thirties, with platinum blond hair, tall and nice facial characteristics spoke to him. Being the only adult in the store and being in a small town, barely larger than a village it was not such a large stretch that he was the store owner and not an employee.

"Yes sir, we are new to town, just arrived today. I'll have a grape and melon smoothie, Chris, Malthe what are you having?" he said, smiling and turned to see his brothers.

"I'll haaavveee…….uhmmm….-giggles-aaaa….an apple cinnamon smoothie Ry, Malthe wants a honey, banana and orange one," Christian said. Malthe was looking around at all the various new faces and people, some girls giggled and batted their eyelashes. Malthe seemed to ignore them.

"I didn't hear any house being sold or rented… where are you staying?" Joey asked.

"We already sort of owned our…house but we were living in the city," Ryan said vaguely enough.

"Fair enough, well welcome to Brave Lake Village, lads!" Joey said, smiling and turned to make the smoothies.

Ryan turned around and watched for an empty table. There wasn't any, but he did see a boy sitting alone in the far corner seemingly away from anyone else. He drank his smoothie and didn't look up from the table. He looked sad and Ryan decided to go and sit with him.

Ten minutes later, their smoothies were ready and paid. Ryan started walking towards the boy in the back. Some more people turned their heads towards him. For some reason, they seemed to be in awe? Fear? Ryan didn't give it much of a thought as he made his way past some tables.

"My name's Terry Jones, you don't want to sit with him; he is tainted, his mother committed suicide, but being new in town, I can show you around and you can be my friend." An older looking teenager stood in front of him. He looked like a block of granite, graceless, not exactly ugly but definitely not handsome, with dirty, unruly blond hair and lots of muscle mass. He had a sneer on his face that made him look like a banshee from a fantasy novel.

Ryan decided almost instantly that he didn't want to be his friend in this world or any other.

Ryan looked at him with a look of complete disgust in his usually relaxed and boyish face. The two now had the full attention of almost every person in the smoothie store.

Ryan understood in an instant what was going on. Terry was probably the biggest, nastiest bully around, and he had decided that because the boy's mother had taken her own life, that he would make his life a living hell. Being a bully ensured that very few people, if any, defied him and were friends with the boy.

"Can you please get out of my way? I do not know you, or him and I will not judge him for something traumatic that happened to him for which he had no control or blame in. Apparently, though, you do…I guess you are the town's bully, and no one dares defy you...I do not care to be your friend or to be near you," Ryan told him with a calmness that was usually Peter's characteristic.

"Well they are biological brothers," Malthe thought as he took in the whole exchange and everyone's facial expressions and body reactions. Some flinched, others tried to move backwards in their seats, others looked sad; some looked like they were enjoying this, probably each for different reasons.

Terry looked pissed off, but he laughed like he had heard a very good joke, "No, little boy! Sit somewhere else," he said with a bigger, now evil sneer in his face.

Ryan stood his ground. Malthe observed as his rear left leg turned ever so slightly and his toes now angled at ninety degrees from his body and front right leg. His hands relaxed on his sides, but to an eye for detail like Malthe's, full of energy, full of anticipation at the building tension.

"I wouldn't be doing that if I were you, Terry. Unlike everyone else around here, he isn't afraid of you and your shit," an unknown boy's voice said from behind them. He must have been standing near the entrance as the voice did sound slightly distant, not coming from right behind them.

"No fucking twelve year old can best or threaten me! I am the fucking regional karate champion! Now you little shit, turn round and sit somewhere else before I pound you!" Terry said, now looking angry at both Ryan and the other boy who had spoken up against him. He placed a hand on Ryan's shoulder getting ready to push him backwards.

"OY! I will not have that kind of shit in my store! Even from you, Terry! Stop or I'll throw you out on your ass!" Joey said in an angry, raised voice pointing at Terry holding a knife as he was cutting up a fruit for another younger looking girl who had just ordered a smoothie.

Few people saw Ryan's boyishly cute face distort in an evil grin as in a flash he grabbed Terry's hand on his shoulder with one hand, squeezed the fingers together and grabbed Terry's elbow with the other hand. In a blink of an eye later, Ryan had stepped to the side bringing his left foot forward and his right foot back and to the other side in an arch bowing his center of weight towards Terry who screamed in pain and agony as he fell to the floor.

"I am thirteen years old and I really don't like bullies. Now, please get out of my way," Ryan said, and using the hand that had hold of Terry's fingers and palm, he pushed him back. Terry fell on his ass and had to use both hands to steady himself. Some people gasped at what had just happened and within seconds, the store was abuzz with whispers.

Ryan stepped to the side and walked over to the lone boy with the twins next to him.

"Can we sit with you? I am Ryan and these are my brothers Christian and Malthe," Ryan said smiling and sat down without waiting for an answer from the boy.

"My name's Jason…Jason Cooper… thanks!" he said smiling, or at least trying to smile. "I guess you'll want to know what Terry was talking about…?" he said with uncertainty. He had short dark blond fritz hair, his body looked lean and athletic through his jeans and t-shirt, he had fire short of hazel eyes and he looked to be about one hundred and sixty centimeters high, his arms didn't as of yet have any muscular toning but then again he did look to be thirteen so it wasn't abnormal, his wrists looked small enough that he should be able to enclose his hands around them. His waist looked thin and his legs folded as they were under the chair and appeared to be equally lean but athletic. He looked to have a healthy bulge between his legs, but sited as he was Ryan could not understand more about it. He was cute in his own way.

"Well, no…not until you are ready to tell me… and definitely not in here, mate!" Ryan said and Jason nodded looking more relaxed.

"How old are you J? I am seven!!" Christian chirped in after taking a gulp of his smoothie.

Ryan chuckled and tussled the youngster's blond curls.

"I turned thirteen a month ago. Are you Christian or Malthe?" Jason asked trying to understand which one of the twins was which.

Ryan and both the twins giggled at the same time. "They must be the easiest identical twins to know which one is Christian and which one is Malthe. Malthe doesn't talk much if he doesn't have something to say whereas Christian is…well a hurricane of energy and chatter!" Ryan said and probed Christian's ribs making the cherub boy giggle.

"Hey! Cut it out!" Christian giggled as Jason entered the fray with smoothie coming out of his nostrils.

"So you're new in town?" Jason asked finishing his smoothie.

"Yeah we just arrived today. About an hour or so ago."

"What do your parents do to be sent out here, not like we have any corporations or anything?" Jason asked as he watched the three brothers sip their smoothies.

Ryan looked away, his face sad in an instant. The twins also looked sad.

"Uhhmm…parents…are not alive, we are here with our older brother, sort of get away from the city and…where it all happened…" Ryan stammered out hesitantly.

Jason blushed and rubbed his cheek with his hand feeling awkward, "Ohh…eehhhh…I'm sorry…I didn't know…"

Ryan smiled, "No of course you didn't, no worries, mate! As I said we came here to make a new start…as much as I didn't want to originally…what with friends and school being back in the city and all…but I guess it ain't all that bad after all…" he said smiling.

Christian's attention had shifted towards some boys his age a few tables away from them. They were with an older very bored looking girl who probably had been landed with watching over them and couldn't wait for her obligation to end. Christian giggled and shifted his weight on his chair to turn his head more, biting his lower lip.

"So what do you do for fun here?" Ryan asked. Malthe was observing everything in his usual quiet but intense gaze.

"Not much. We have a mall with a small multiplex about thirty minutes by car but not as easily accessible by bike or foot as it's on the interstate and it doesn't have a crossing for pedestrians near it. But being the only mall around it concentrates people from four, five villages, so it's almost always packed. We have the local footy team and stadium. The school's football and volleyball teams practice there as well. Then for whoever likes it there are hiking and biking trails all over the countryside, lake and mountain as well as some that go through the Estate's forest grounds, but of late that moron who runs it has blocked them off. There is of course the smoothie parlor and the diner…then of course gathering at friends' houses and doing stuff…I guess that's just about it," Jason said shrugging his shoulders.

"Well, I do love biking, and movies are not bad…well we can always gather at each other's house and play some video games or watch a series," Ryan answered back. "And I do love playing volleyball. When can I apply for the school team?" He finished talking while looking towards the boys Christian seemed to be looking so intently at. He shook his head chuckling and looked back at Jason.

Their discussion continued with Malthe not missing a single thing with his grey-light blue eyes darting all over the parlor taking in all the sensory information available, his mind making connections, revealing patterns, making associations between people, reactions, emotions, facial and body language, words, visible cues.

Meanwhile, Peter had arranged for the crews to start work from the very next day. They would start with the roofs and ceilings that needed repairs. When that was done, they would continue with the marble floors and columns, then with the plumbing and electrical circuits and cables and finally finish with painting the entire Manor inside out and repairing and polishing the wooden floors. By the end of July, start of August, it should all be finished, well before the coming of winter's cold breath.

He had also found the school and learned what he needed to do and what paperwork to sign so that Ryan and the twins would be enrolled and could start school next year. He had liked the principal lady; she looked intelligent, understanding and capable. When the issue of Malthe's highly increased IQ had come up, she had offered to place him three to four grades above his own so that he could be challenged academically and not be bored in class, but Peter had declined. He had explained to her that he didn't want a seven year old with eleven to twelve year olds; he wanted Malthe with his own age group even if he would be bored in class. She had understood and accepted it.

Having finished some other errands as well, he walked over to the diner to grab a coffee and meet some more of his new sort of neighbors and hopefully new friends. In small towns and large villages like this one, a diner was always a meeting place for the locals.

He opened the door and got in; some people turned their heads towards him and smiled. He sat on a chair, picked up a menu and started reading what was on it.

"Hello, you must be new in town? Or are you passing by?" a sweet melodic voice asked him. The moment he heard it, he knew that he loved the voice and that it must belong to a very sweet and beautiful woman. He looked up already feeling the desire to smile.

Then his eyes travelled up from the menu and he saw her and at that very second time froze. He smiled from deep in his heart with all the warmth he could place in a smile as his eyes ran over the beauty before him. She had long brunette straw like hair, an oval-egg shaped face that adhered to the golden ratio, her eyes neither too small nor too big, with two deep blue orbs sparkling as if diamonds were contained inside them, her nose complimented her face well, a French nose indeed it was, small, cute and neither curving up nor down. Her lips were full and blood red and just made you beg to be allowed to kiss them ever so softly. Her neck was long enough. Her cloth-covered breasts reminded him of two perfect melons that stared up into the heavens. He couldn't see her legs and rest of her as she was behind the counter but he knew that eventually he wanted to marry her. Getting there though would be half the fun.

She smiled back and giggled at his overt inspection of her and his loss for words. Well, he wasn't half bad himself either standing at one hundred and ninety centimeters above the ground, with a well built and muscular body, a pleasant face, at least according to what others had told him, and two very intense and expressive hazel eyes.

"Yes, I just moved here from the city with my brothers. My name's Peter Jarrow," he said, smiling and looking relaxed. This was not his first flirting with a girl, he now hoped it would be the last.

She giggled some more, "I'm Maria Cooper and I also have a younger brother… raising a teenager can be…challenging!" she said.

"Yes, I know what you mean! Ryan is now thirteen and he can be a handful at times. At other times I just sort of, you know, want to strangle him, but what can I do?! I love the little twerp!" he said chuckling.

"Yes indeed. How come you moved out here in the middle of nowhere?" she asked as tactfully as she could, obviously wanting to gain information on where their parents were.

Peter's smile wavered for a second but then he regained his composure and sighed.

"Our mother died when she gave birth to Ryan thirteen years ago…then father remarried and she had twin boys from a previous marriage and then…about a month ago they died in the fire in the theatre if you heard about it on the news," he said calmly.

She clasped her hands in front of her mouth in shock and her eyes betrayed the sadness she felt for him and regret that she had asked.

"Yes we heard it in the news, I am so sorry! My condolences!" she said as she placed her hands on the counter.

"Thank you, you couldn't have known. It does hurt as it is expected, but I do have to look after three brothers so it lies in the background. We came out here because our grandfather owned a…house that Ryan and I have inherited and I decided to get us away from the city and the memories, and build a new life for us all here."

She could see that he had decided to put his needs and life on hold so that he could provide a life for his younger brothers, two of them that were not even biologically related. It did not go unnoticed or unappreciated by her as her eyes seemed to sparkle even brighter than before and she bit her lower lip subconsciously.

"They are so lucky to have you as a brother! What will you have?"

"Thank you. I am also lucky to have them. They are great for younger brothers! I'll have some coffee, black, with no sugar," he said and she wrote it down it down and then started serving him some coffee from an already made pot.

"How old is your brother?" he added.

"Well he turned thirteen about a month ago. It's been pretty much just the two of us ever since….well since our mother died of cancer and dad decided that he couldn't handle it…he started drinking and when I wouldn't give him any money he picked up and left us…"

He liked her even more as they spoke. She was a kindred spirit as it would seem, sacrificing her needs as well to raise her younger brother, not many would, but he had found one that did, and all he needed was one.

"My turn to say that I'm sorry and express my condolences. Well I hope that his behaviour hasn't erased your faith in all men."

She smiled at him deeply but said nothing. Why do women love to be so vague, Peter would never understand but it did add to the experience of flirting and hunting after them.

She was about to ask or say something when a man appeared from the kitchen door behind her. "Stop lazing about! Go service the other customers; I don't pay you to flirt around!" he said harshly at her and disappeared back into the kitchen.

She looked really angry and sad to be ridiculed like that publically but she just sighed and smiled. "I'm sorry for that."

"Don't be. He's an asshole. Let me pay you for the coffee and I'll be seeing you again soon," he said with his warm smile.

She smiled and took the money for the coffee.

"I think it's time for us to get going, do you want to come with?" Ryan asked Jason.

"Yeah, sure." They stood up as Ryan called Peter on his mobile.

"Hey, are you still in town?"

"Yes, I was just coming to see if you're still in the smoothie store."

"Yes, we were just leaving, We'll see you outside," Ryan said and terminated the call.

They were near the store's entrance when Terry tried to get in their way, this time looking angry enough to blow a gasket. Ryan ignored him and after he made sure that the twins and Jason had moved out of the store, he side stepped and got out himself ignoring the older bully completely.

"Everything okay?" Peter asked him.

"Yeah, he's just an idiot. It's okay, nothing I can't handle," Ryan answered shrugging his shoulders. "This is my new friend, Jason. Jason my older brother Peter." He introduced them.

Peter and Jason shook hands as the twins retrieved their bikes from the bike stands.

"I was wondering maybe I can stay here in town with Jason some more and come back later?"

"Yeah I don't have a problem. The movers won't be here for about two weeks and I don't need you for the moment. Just come back later for dinner okay?" Peter told him, looking at him and Jason.

"Yeah, sure."

"Can we stay as well!? Can we?! Can we?!" Christian asked in his child's excited way, giggling.

"Not today, Chris, maybe another day, mount your bikes in the trunk."

Christian moaned in disappointment. His desire to be with the grown up boys obvious to everyone. Peter ruffled his hair then opened the trunk and got in the car.

When their bikes were loaded in the SUV and the twins had buckled up in the back seats, Peter waved off Ryan and Jason and left.

"Okay, tour me around!" Ryan said as he mounted his bike. Jason mounted his and off they went.

For the next few hours they rode all over Brave Lake Village, Jason showing him every nook and cranny, every important location, his house included and they talked about anything and everything. About the life in the village, their interests and hobbies, about girls and celebrities, movies and video games, anything that would pop into their minds.

The sun was setting behind the mountain on the horizon when Ryan's phone rang.

"Hey Peter, I was just going to call you…yes I'm coming back, I wanted to ask you if Jason can spend the night…cool –he turned his head to Jason while holding his mobile on his ear- Jason, call your father and ask him if you can spend the night." They stopped pedaling as Jason retrieved his mobile from his backpack.

"Well…no father, but I'll call my sister," he said somewhat sad for a second but then the prospect of a sleepover with his new friend overcame his momentary sadness of being an orphan from a father as well as a mother.

"Yeah hi sis, made a new friend…yes me too, can I sleep at his place tonight? Thanks, I'll ask him wait a sec… -he looked at Ryan- where do you live?"

"Brave Lake Manor," Ryan said simply.

Jason almost fell off of his bike from the answer and his surprise.

"What! No way!! I've never even seen what the Manor looks like from up close!! Yes, sis, that's where they're staying apparently. Okay cool I'll call you tomorrow then."

"Okay bro, Jason's sister says it's okay! Yes we'll see you in a bit!" Ryan said and terminated the call.

They started pedaling towards the road to the Estate.

"I can't believe you're staying in Brave Lake Manor! The rumours in town were that it was under sale. Did your brother buy it?"

It was Ryan's time to almost fall from his bike. "No, it was never under sale, me and Peter inherited it from our grandfather and father. It has always been in the family and it will always be. Our great grandfather purchased the land and built it. Grandfather finished it in his youth. Peter used to come here for summer vacations when he was young but then stopped for various reasons. It's the first time for me and the twins," Ryan explained. He made a mental note to tell Peter about the rumours, obviously that rat of a man Mr. Williams was preparing to sell the Estate and the Manor illegally and run off with the payment. It made his blood boil with anger. How dare he try and scam out their inheritance?!

Jason didn't speak, he looked nervous. Ryan smiled at him.

"Hey, no worries, it wasn't you who either spread the rumours or tried to illegally sell the Estate, thanks for the info. I'll tell Peter and he can look into it." Jason smiled back and they continued to chat until they arrived at the Estate's outer doors, the ones Ryan had opened earlier. They were closed so Peter must have closed them after entering with the car. It would seem that's how he wanted it, at least for now.

"Help me open these slabs of metal please!" Ryan said un-mounting his bike. He let it fall to the wet ground and walked over to one of the two pieces of the gate.

"Sure. What does the inscription on top mean?" Jason followed him and they started to push them open. They got in and closed the gates.

Ryan told him what it meant as they rode their bikes again. Forty five minutes later, they were in front of the Manor's front entrance.

It was by now almost pitch black, the only sources of light being the Manor's internal and external lights and the stars above in the moonless night.

Ryan was almost knocked off his feet when a giggling Christian came running at him and hugged him. "I missed you, Ry!" he said as Ryan hugged him back.

When Christian let go of him, Ryan kneeled on the ground and hugged Malthe, pinching the younger boy's cute button nose making him giggle and smile.

Malthe looked at Jason, walked over to him and hugged him tight. Jason didn't know what to do so he looked around to Ryan who also looked astonished at Malthe's action. Jason didn't know this of course, but Malthe was very reserved with strangers. He could hug Christian, Ryan, Peter or someone else he knew and trusted and loved, but with strangers, it usually took him a good long while to open up. For him to hug an unknown to him teenager boy so soon after meeting him, it was almost unheard of.

Jason hugged him back until Malthe let go of him and started walking inside the house, "It's cold." His Laconic answer to the unasked question.

"He doesn't talk much does he?" Jason enquired when the twins had moved into the house. They dropped their bikes on the gravel road and started walking towards the Manor's entrance.

"No…he is a quiet sort of character. There's so much going on in his mind, so much intelligence that he prefers to talk little and with good reason. He usually expresses his desires by hugging, shrugging his shoulders and pointing to what he wants. It takes some getting used to, but he really is a great kid," Ryan said smiling sweetly as from the love he felt for his younger brother.

"Yeah he really is very cute and cuddly! I would love to have him as my brother as well. How high is his IQ?"

"Well…I don't know…his previous school had him take an IQ test, he didn't make a single mistake, answered all the questions quite extensively and had time to spare."

"All of the questions? But some of them are very abstract, not meant to be answered exactly…"

"Yeah I know but nonetheless he did finish the whole test."

"How come he is still at school then? From what I know they bump such people up to higher grades?"

"His mother didn't want it, my…our father either and Malthe would only shrug his shoulders when asked so the school was pressed to let him amongst his peers even if he was bored in most classes."

They walked in the Manor and Jason just stood there gawking in awe at the interior.

"Mr. Giles, this is my friend Jason," Ryan said as the butler approached them.

"Yes, I am acquainted with young Mr. Cooper, sir."

"Yeah, I know Mr. Giles comes and eats at the diner from time to time," Jason said nodding to the old man.

Ryan blushed, unfamiliar with being called sir.

"If I call you Daren will you call me Ryan? I am not used to being called sir," he asked the old man, smiling.

"I can indeed, Ryan. Unorthodox to my training, but I can indeed. I am to tell you and your friend that dinner will soon be served in the dining room, and that your brother is waiting for you there, now to find the twins," Daren said in his usual manner.

Ryan smiled and nodded. They headed for the dining room. Peter was seated at the head of the table, reading a very old looking book. Two servants were preparing the plates and cutlery for dinner.

Peter looked up and smiled at them.

"How was your ride, Ry?"

"It was good. Jason showed me around. Peter, Jason told me that the rumours in town said that the Manor and the Estate were being sold or at least someone was trying to sell it," Ryan said with concern in his voice.

"Well, obviously that is not happening, but I called for a courier to come by tomorrow and pick up the financial records and some other documents for Rick and George to look over. If that…man tried or did anything, I'll know, and he'll know the full extent of my wrath and the legal vindictive punishment. Don't worry, Ryan, no one is taking our inheritance from us," Peter said calmly but seriously.

Ryan nodded and sat next to his brother, Jason sat next to him.

Mr. Giles came with the twins in tow, soon after, the servants that had been preparing the dinner-wear went away and minutes later they came back holding serving platters full of food.

They placed them on the table. "The cook has made beef casserole, baked potatoes, cinnamon rice with double cream and green salad to welcome you all to the Manor, sir…. sorry I forgot si… I mean Peter," one of the servants said.

"Thank you Mr. Faring. Express my gratitude to Mrs. Alford."

"Of course…Peter." This was so unusual for poor Mr. Faring, to call his boss by his first name and not by "sir" or at the very least by his surname. But, Peter would not have it any other way. Before long, he would also convince Mr. Giles as well. All he needed was time.

Christian and Malthe sat opposite of Ryan and Jason, eager to eat all the deliciously smelling items on the table, looking at the serving platters containing their dinner as if they had not eaten for days if not weeks, their eyes sparkling with anticipation, hunger and boyishness.

Mr. Faring started holding the platters for them to serve food onto their plates, but Peter told him to serve food himself to the twins and eyed them with a mock anger in his eyes that quickly turned to laughter. Ryan knew that allowing Christian to serve himself could be a bad mistake as in his eagerness and impatience to get more food than everyone else before the plate containing the food was removed from his reach, he usually ended up serving more food on the table and the floor rather than on his plate.

Christian giggled and shrugged his shoulders as if to say "Whaaatt?" Mr. Faring served him and his twin alter ego.

They started eating, making light conversation in between forkfuls and spoonfuls of food, learning each other's habits, history and just talking to pass the time. It was, as can be imagined, a vivid and noisy affair as Christian would interrupt, giggle and chat, sometimes all together, sometimes while having food in his mouth, with that latest behaviour earning him some real angry looks from Peter. It only happened twice. Truth be told, as spunkful, vibrant and a tease of a character as Christian was, he knew when Peter and, before that, his parents were being serious and when to stop before diving punishment rained down upon him.

"The food is excellent sir, and so delicious, and the Manor… it's like one of those houses you see in films and fantasy novels," Jason said at some point having just emptied his plate of food.

"Yes, our great grandfather and grandfather built a beautiful home indeed. Have as much food as you want, Jason. There won't be much left anyways with these three food monsters! And please call me Peter."

They laughed and Christian giggled. "I am not a food monster. I am a very hungry angel muffin!" he said, pouting his lips and brows in mock hurt.

Peter bent to his left and poked his ribs causing him to giggle more, "What?! I am cute and edible like an angel muffin!" he said, making Malthe roll his eyes and giggle.

Jason took another serving of everything and so did Ryan, with Christian taking two more and wolfing them down like he was some prisoner who had been allowed only water and bread for weeks.

When they had finished and were feeling very comfy and full, Christian shot up like a rocket as Mr. Faring and the other servant were taking away the serving platters and dishes, went around the table almost causing Mr. Faring to drop what he was holding, and grabbed hold of Jason's hand in both his hands.

"Come on! I want you to help me with my bath!" he told the helpless teenager.

Jason looked over at Ryan who tried his best not to laugh. "Don't look at me mate. Christian is not known for taking no for an answer. Well, Malthe as well for that matter." he said trying not to giggle at the expression of uncertainty and near despair from his new friend.

Peter looked over in Malthe's eyes, the young angel looked back at him and shrugged his shoulders and stood up. "I don't mind…if Ryan comes as well."

"I'll come bro. Come on, let's go," Ryan said rising to his feet.

Seconds later, they were climbing the stairs to their room when Ryan closed the distance between his mouth and Jason's ear and whispered to him.

"I ought to warn you. I don't know if Peter knows, but their mother and our father certainly didn't. They like to fool around when having their bath, at least the last couple of years that they've had their bath without their mother present. So if you don't feel comfortable seeing something like that, make an excuse not to help with their bath, because it is highly likely that they will do something in front of you, being a…well stranger won't stop them."

Jason looked at him surprised, "I…no… I don't mind. I mean I like girls and all, but I did use to fool around with my cousin when I was at their age…sometimes…well before mom…well before, when I had friends we would also fool around some…you know in the absence of girls…" he said back in a whisper.

They entered the twins' room, Jason constantly voicing his astonishment at the Manor's internal decorations and carvings.

"Well, you should see it after all the repairs are done," Ryan told him as he turned on the metal valves to fill up the marble bathtub, adjusting the water temperature. It was one of the few rooms that had water for now.

The twins stripped down making Jason ogle at their naked beauty even if they were so young. Maybe it sort of added to it, blending their natural beauty with their young boyishness, making them look like one of those cherubs in renaissance paintings, although the twins were not chubby like those in the paintings.

Ryan and Jason soaped them up, Jason being a bit apprehensive from soaping up below Christian's belly button until the young boy poked his tongue out at him, grabbed his hand and shoved it lower. Jason discovered to his great surprise that the young boy was sporting an erection, his 1.18 inch dicklet standing proudly erect. He soaped him up as quickly as he could, lest be thought of by Ryan as some sort of pervert who liked touching a boy as young as Christian so intimately and moved on to soap Christian's bubble behind also as quickly as he could and finally moved to the boy's back and shoulders. To his great horror, he was now sporting an erection under his jeans as well.

Just when Jason thought he had seen it all and escaped the worst of it, Christian looked at him with a mischievous look and then bent forward, grabbed Malthe's back of his neck and connected their lips. Malthe tried to protest that they were not alone, but surrendered to his brother's kissing.

Ryan giggled and Jason was rooted to the spot, unable to take his eyes off of the kissing cuties in front of him, subconsciously moving his hands in front of his crotch to hide his now fully erect boyhood.

Malthe moaned and pushed his tongue inside Christian's mouth who leaned him back more until Malthe's head and back were touching the bathtub's surface.

They began a frantic rhythm of French-kissing, and soon enough, their small hands were groping their smaller erections.

Ryan was stroking himself without even knowing it through the fabric of his jeans. He stole a glance towards Jason to find him doing the same. He swallowed hard and dry, his eyes burning with increasing lust and his throat dry from the sexiness of what he was watching and turned his eyes back to the twins.

Just when Christian was jerking off Malthe properly, making him squirm and moan, Jason jerked his head coming out of his trance.

He cleared his throat, "Ghmm…I…it's getting late guys, we should put you to sleep," he told them, drawing Christian backwards and off his brother. Christian groaned but stood on his legs. Ryan rinsed them off and then they each dried off one of them making them squirm and giggle when their ribs and other ticklish places were dried.

They tucked them in their sleeping bags and left the bathroom light open. Ryan knew that all the unknown, new sounds and location would be somewhat scary for the younger boys until they got used to it all, so a source of light would allow them to sleep peacefully. Due to the state of the roof, he wrapped a blanket that someone had left by the door on top of each of them.

He kissed their cheeks and after telling them the usual "don't let the bed bugs bite," he and Jason left the room, leaving the door slightly open.

"We have some time before we have to turn in…what do you want to do…unfortunately I don't have any of my stuff yet," Ryan said, bummed out at the lack of his personal stuff and furniture.

"Well, I would like to see the Manor, I've never been inside the outer gates to the Estate, much less the Manor but I guess the light doesn't help now so tomorrow morning…is there anywhere we can sit and talk?" Jason tried to cheer him up by not asking something that would require technology or similar avenue of entertainment.

"Ryan sir, if I may interrupt, there is a patio on the back where the pool is; it has loungers you two can sit on," Mr. Giles said from behind them, startling them.

Ryan yelled and Jason jumped as they both turned around to eye the man evilly before they burst out laughing.

"Thank you, Daren, we'll go there…just don't ever do this again!!" Ryan said amidst laughing.

They walked downstairs to find Peter sitting in one of the armchairs by the fireplace in the living room. The fire was not lit yet being summer, and there was no need even if it was chilly outside.

"Hey, Peter, what are you reading?" Ryan asked as he opened the glass window sliding door to the back garden and the patio with the pool.

"Have you been to the library yet? There are books there from the fifteen hundreds…apparently our great grandfather was an avid collector. This old book is "The Pit and the Pendulum" a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and published in 1842. Some of the books in the library I don't think I'll ever read as they are in Italian, German, French and Spanish of those times. I only know French and I think I would still have a problem deciphering the renaissance French from today's modernized French, but it is still an impressive collection that I am fully intent on growing once we start having a steady, healthy income from the agricultural lands of the Estate."

"We'll check it out tomorrow. Although, I think I'd be terrified of damaging something so old," Ryan said, standing in the open window with Jason who liked the Jarrow family more and more by each passing second.

"Nah, you'll do fine, there are some simple rules to follow when handling an antique book. I'll explain them to you both and then so long as you follow them, you'll have no problems, Ry. Where are you going?"

"Just outside, sit in the loungers by the pool for a while."

"Okay, have fun. Our stuff should be here within one to two weeks, but we won't be able to place most of them until the repairs are over, so probably until ending of July."

"Are we to sleep in sleeping bags until then?" Ryan asked somewhat irritated.

"No, a bed can be moved around when it is time to fix the wooden floors and paint the walls in each room, but it will be too much of a hustle if we have to remove everything else and put it back after the repairs. Not to mention that it may end up damaging stuff if that was to happen, so when the stuff arrives I'll have the movers carry the heavy stuff and furniture in general locations like corridors near the room where they are meant to go and cover them with sheets until the repairs are done," Peter said in his usual calm demeanour, ignoring the somewhat understandable irritation Ryan, as a teenager, was displaying for all this upheaval and change.

"Okay, I guess," Ryan said and walked outside, closing the glass door behind him and Jason.

"It's a nice night tonight…and the Manor is so…unbelievably amazing!!" Jason said, grinning and trying to shift Ryan's mind from the understandable discomfort that the whole moving to the countryside was causing him.

They sat on two loungers next to each other and their talk drifted from one subject to the next, their friendship growing and developing until a couple of hours later, Peter told them it was time for bed as they had an early rise the next morning. He wanted them to go to the nearby mall and buy a few things and be back before the construction crew arrived at eleven.

Ryan woke up just as the sun was coming up from behind the lake, and the mountain to the west of the lake shown in brilliant golden colours. He immediately knew that he was not alone in the sleeping bag. He untangled himself from the younger, smaller body as quietly as he could. It was one of the twins but in this sleeping state it was not possible to say which one. Only when they were awakened could one distinguish them by who talked the most.

He smiled and caressed his younger brother's cheek gently. The sleeping boy moaned and tried to hug him closer in his sleep. Ryan gave him a soft kiss on his cheek and got up to go to the bathroom. He had a raging morning erection that he needed to satisfy.

Jason was sleeping in his sleeping bag and it was no surprise that the other twin was there with him. For a few nights, he would not stop them from doing this. They were only seven and now in a completely foreign, larger and stranger environment than their house and room back in the city. If they continued to choose to sleep with him by July, he would have to talk to them about it.

He walked to the bathroom, closed the door behind him and emptied his bladder, sighing happily at the almost euphoric feeling.

He washed his hands and got out of the bathroom and his room, dropping one more glance towards Jason's way. He had to stifle a giggle as the twin that was sleeping with him had his hand on Jason's crotch and was in his sleep rubbing it with small movements. The effect to his sleeping friend was obvious in both his hard-on and the soft, barely audible moans that escaped his mouth. In the stillness of night all sounds are heard.

Ryan decided to do something he hadn't done since he was himself five or six, so he walked up the stairs to Peter's floor and opened the door slightly. He peered inside to see his brother sleeping on his back, a hand on his side by his face, the other on his chest, breathing slowly, rhythmically. Ryan smiled. There was no need to have any DNA test ever to prove they were biologically brothers. Both he and their father when he was still alive slept exactly like that, maybe with a leg angled outwards if no one else was in the bed.

"Ryan?" Peter's whisper sounded groggily, half awake, half asleep.

"Y…yes Peter…I was wondering if I could…just lie with you for a little while," he asked, opening the door more. The door made a cracking sound, the joints holding it to the wooden frame having been left to rust for years.

"Sure, Ry, I was about to get up and start getting ready, but hop in," he said lifting the bed covers.

Ryan walked fast and raising a foot over Peter he got inside the covers and placed a hand over his brother's torso, nuzzling his head in his neck. Peter lowered the covers over them both and hugged Ryan around his shoulders and neck, holding him in protectively, lovingly.

They stayed like that for a while until Ryan couldn't hold it in anymore and he started crying softly hugging Peter tighter, closer, wanting to somehow pass his sadness away from him and maybe take in something else, different that would make him feel better.

Peter held him with one hand and caressed his cheek with the other. No words were needed. Peter knew how Ryan felt and why he was crying and Ryan knew Peter's feelings towards the whole situation and the silent effort he was making for him.

"I miss them so much!" he said a few minutes after he stopped crying, still hiccupping a little here and there.

"I know, Ry! I know more than you'll ever know," Peter told him and Ryan knew that he could never fully know or understand how much it saddened Peter, after all he had never met his mother. He did understand the void of not having a mother somewhat but Peter had met her, he had lost her as well, he had lost both parents and yet he was there for them, he was strong for them, and supportive and tried his best to bring them happiness after the profound loss they had all just been put under.

A few minutes later, Peter patted his back and got up. "I'll meet you all downstairs for breakfast, Ry," he told him, disappearing inside the bathroom.

"Okay." Ryan left and went back to his room. Jason was awake and chatting in whispers with Christian. Malthe was still sleeping in Ryan's empty sleeping bag.

"Hello, mate," Jason greeted him. Christian waved his hand unwilling to leave the warm comfort of the sleeping bag to hug him as he usually does in the morning.

"Hi Jason, mate," Ryan greeted him back and kneeled by Christian's side to give the little boy a kiss on his cheek. Christian giggled and kissed him back, snuggled comfortably as he was next to Jason's side.

"I'll wake up Malthe. We must get ready. We're going to the mall," he told his brother and his friend as he crawled to his sleeping bag and shook Malthe, gently giving the boy another kiss on his cheek. Malthe stirred and looked at him, smiling for a second. He hugged him and then got up, propping his weight on his hands, before turning on his all fours, his knees and then stood up making a bee line for the nearest bathroom to empty his obviously full bladder.

He was so cute and funny walking as fast as he was, a hand on his crotch holding his dicky so that it did not erupt before it was supposed to.

Ryan dropped his pajamas and started putting on his clothes. Christian darted out of the room, obviously needing to release himself as well, and with Ryan's bathroom taken, he made Ryan and Jason giggle as he ran for his room.

A few minutes later, they were downstairs in the dining room serving their breakfast in their plates, and what a large selection they had to choose from.

There were several flavours of jam, several different kinds of honey, fresh and toasted pieces of different kinds of bread, milk, cereal, fried eggs, bacon, rice puddings, orange juice, and several different fruits, peeled and sliced.

They all gorged themselves until there was barely anything left intact on the table.

"Daren, this was excellent! I've never eaten so much breakfast before in my life!!" Ryan said, smiling widely.

"I'll tell Mrs. Alford, Mr. Ryan. Did you all sleep okay?"

"Well the sleeping bag isn't very comfy, and all the sounds and stuff were so new…but we slept okay in the end!" Christian said in his usual excited boyish tone.

"I am glad to hear that, Mr. Christian, what of you Mr. Malthe?" Mr. Giles asked as he stood behind Peter as his position had been all these years, first with Peter's grandfather and the man that had hired him when he was only barely a man of twenty years old, just after the second great war that had left him fatherless, his father having died a soldier's death in the front, his mother having died in the air raids of the city by the German air force. Peter's grandfather had taken him in without him having any sort of training or references. He had trained him and given him a basic education that he lacked until then. He had started as his personal valet, and when his master had married and had their first son a few years later, he had been promoted to Butler of the Estate. To this day, Mr. Giles did not know why the man had done all that for him.

Ever since then, for more than four decades, his position had been beside his Master. When Peter's grandfather had died and his son had decided against moving in the Manor, his rightful place had been lost to him. Now he was again right where he was supposed to be.

"Mr. Giles, we should be back before eleven, but if the construction crew arrives before us, they are to start with repairing the roofs. I trust that you'll show them and me where everything is."

"Of course, Mr. Jarrow. Have a pleasant time at the mall, sir." Peter's conviction in…reforming his employees may have been strong, but Mr. Giles was of equal determination and maybe stronger stubbornness not to stray further than absolutely required from his training and accepted level of service towards his boss and Master's grandson. Peter had begun to understand that it would become a sort of game between them. He liked the man's attitude and he already had great respect for him. It is not easy after all to teach an old dog new tricks. He contained a grin as he got up and nodded his approval to Mr. Giles before heading for the Manor entrance.

Ryan, Jason and the twins got up after him having finished their breakfast and eager to get to the mall and explore further their new living environment. According to Jason, it was the nearest mall and multiplex around after all, so they all individually thought it a good idea to learn it by heart.

"Peter, can Jason come with us to the mall?"

"I don't see why not, if his parents don't mind," Peter said and Jason's wince did not go unnoticed by him.

"I…ehmm…my mother is dead…my father left us after…well after she passed away. I live with my sister. I'll call her now si…Peter."

Peter said nothing, his face showing compassion, but not judgment; it was not his fault after all, any of it.

A good forty minutes later and under instructions from both road signs and Jason, they were parked and riding the underground lift from the parking level to the ground level of the mall.

Christian could barely keep his enthusiasm in check whereas Malthe was lost again in his textpad writing numbers and designs that only had meaning to him.

Jason and Ryan were chatting amongst themselves, and Peter was checking his list of to-do things lest he forget something important.

Peter had to shop some stuff for the repairs of the Manor, some furniture to personalise their rooms that would not be brought over by the movers, or that they had outgrown and since they were moving it was as good a time as any to change, and some stuff for in-house use.

"I have to go check some agricultural stuff. Jason is there an arcade that you lot can go to?"

"Yeah, sure."

"Okay, I'll find you there."

"Okays, bro," Ryan told him and they left for the arcade on the second floor.

"Your new bed looks cool, don't you think Christian?" Jason asked the small framed cherub.

"Ya!! Well I picked it! Duh!" Christian spoke in his usual high pitched teasing voice making Ryan and Malthe roll their eyes and giggle at his antics.

"Indeed you did, you little angel muffin!" Jason said laughing. He tried to tickle the teasing youngster, but he ran away faster than Jason's stretching hands, giggling infectiously.

"Wow!! This place is brilliant!!" Christian exclaimed when he saw the arcades room.

"Yeah, it's pretty cool," Jason said as they entered.

"Hullo, J my man!" A college looking boy greeted Jason and they bumped knuckles.

"Hullo Garry. This is my new friend Ryan and his younger brothers Christian and Malthe," Christian was giggling as some teenage girls a few meters away were "aaawwing" at them.

"Pleased to meet you, Ryan. I'm glad Jason has some friends again, and what about Terry? He has been riding your case hard, the asshole!" Garry said shaking hands with Ryan.

Ryan smiled wickedly. "Yeah, Terry tried to push me away…he found out that I can push back in equal and greater…measure. I hate bullies."

"I like this one!" Garry announced grinning.

"Yeah, me too," Jason answered, making Ryan's cheeks and ears blush a rather complimenting shade of pink.

"So which one of you two little devils is Christian and which one is Malthe? Different names you have!"

"I am Christian of course, silly!!" Christian spoke with his hands on his hips as if it was crystal clear which one of them he was, as if they were not as identical as two drops of water.

Garry kneeled in front of Christian. "Why yes, I see it now! It is as obvious as the sun setting from the east!" Garry said tickling the boy.

"The sun sets on the west, silly!!" Christian said matter-of-factly while giggling and squirming.

"Yes it does…and you two are identical, silly!" Garry said and tussled Christian's hair and got up on his feet chuckling.

"So how do you tell them apart?"

"It should be obvious after a time," Ryan said smiling.

Garry looked at each of them and rubbed his bearded chin.

"The river take it, for the love of life or money I can't see it," he said pinching Christian's button nose.

"It is not in what you can see; it is in what you cannot hear," Malthe spoke looking beyond Garry's eyes.

"He speaks!" Garry exclaimed.

"Exactly," Malthe and Ryan said simultaneously making everyone burst out laughing. Malthe shrugged his shoulders and hugged Ryan for a second or two.

"Okay, guys, so how many chips you want?"

"Give us…thirty…" Jason said but Ryan took out a bill with the number one hundred on it.

"Give us another seventy," he said.

"What? Ryan that's a lot of money…" Jason tried to stop Ryan from spending so much money on the arcades.

"Have you seen Christian and Malthe play video games? Well, let's just say that Christian likes to role play his games and Malthe…well okay he never loses, so essentially Christian can lose all one hundred in less than ten minutes…" Ryan chuckled as he gave Garry the money. Christian giggled and poked his tongue out. Malthe looked lost in his textpad.

Garry gave him the chips and they turned round to view the games.

"Which one first?" Christian asked excited almost jumping up and down.

"I dunno Chris, any one you want. I think I'll start with terminator, feeling like killing some machines," Ryan said rubbing his hands together feeling excited.

"You cannot kill what is not alive," Malthe said.

"Well whatever, annihilate some machines!" Ryan shook his head and walked to the arcade.

"Acceptable definition," Malthe whispered.

Ryan pushed two chips in the arcade slot and he and Jason picked up a gun and started playing, killing or rather annihilating one terminator machine after another, laughing and being teenagers as they high-fived and bumped knuckles for each difficult kill. Sometime in the game Ryan looked to his side, checking his friend's crotch and was caught by Jason who giggled nervously. Ryan blushed a deep shade of crimson and his head snapped back to the game screen.

Christian had chosen a game with pirates and was playing it very animatedly, acting as if he was the pirate and he was actually fending off his foes trying to get that loot or capture the princess, yelling and making sound effects with his mouth for explosions and waves crashing on the ships and such. Malthe stood by his side silent, taking in all the new environments, sounds and senses.

A few games down from the two was a teenager who was also very noisily playing Tetris and boasting his supposed exploits to a girl his age that was by his side holding him by his waist, or at least she was trying to with him moving so erratically about.

The teenager lost, his hands shooting above his head in clear sign of frustration and surrender. He looked around and saw Malthe staring at him intensely, a very faint smirk on his lips.

The teenager must have taken some sort of offense at Malthe's stare and smile because he removed the girl's hand from his waist and walked to Malthe looking at the young boy crossed and frustrated.

"What are you looking at crotch-fruit?" he asked, his hand going for Malthe's t-shirt collar. Jason had seen the exchange and pushed him back, his eyes throwing daggers, his fists ready for a fight and his mind desiring one.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" he asked the older boy, getting between him and the twins who he had grown very fond of, their older brother as well. He had been the first to stand up for him after all.

"That little shit was smiling for me losing, so I…" the teenager started saying but then Ryan came looking calm.

"So you were going to do what, mate? Beat up a seven year old for smiling at you being a complete idiot boasting a victory before you secure it?" he spoke trying his best not to smile himself.

The teenager was left speechless, trying to decide what had just happened, whether or not to beat somebody up or make a run for it with whatever shred of dignity he had left. Ryan continued giving a solution that no one present except the three brothers expected or thought would serve any good.

"How about a contest. You play a round of Tetris, then Malthe will play a round. Whoever has the highest score of the two is the winner," Ryan said no longer able to contain the smirk in his lips.

"You're on! I will crush the little shit!" the teenager proclaimed arrogantly.

Malthe shrugged his shoulders and walked towards the Tetris arcade.

"What are you doing? Malthe will get creamed!" Jason whispered to Ryan's ear.

"No he won't. I wasn't exaggerating before when I told Garry that Malthe doesn't lose at video games. Just sit back and enjoy." Ryan was grinning widely now, the older teenager having, in his arrogance and false sense of self-worth in his older years, fallen in his trap.

"I'll go first!" The teenager started playing, some kids from the nearby arcade machines gathered round them, some cheered the teenager others were silent. Malthe seemed completely transfixed, locked on the arcade screen as tiles started falling down one after another on faster and faster speeds, the teenager hitting the buttons erratically, like a person trying to fly an airplane but without having any knowledge on how to fly it or what each button and instrument on the cockpit does. He reached a high score of one hundred thousand before the pieces started falling too fast and he lost. He shot his hands on the air and screamed a victorious roar.

"Ha! Match that if you can!" he told the younger boy as he moved to the side so that Malthe could stand in front of the arcade and play.

Malthe stepped in front and looked at the older boy. "Tell me when you've had enough crotch-fruit." he said and looked back at the arcade screen, the game started. He took a deep breath and exhaled.

He placed his hands on the buttons, hitting each only once, his movements were anything but erratic they were calculated, precise, like a surgeon during surgery.

" function eachblock(type, x, y, dir, fn) { var bit, result, row = 0, col = 0, blocks type.blocks[dir]; for(bit = 0x8000 ; bit > 0 ; bit = bit >> 1) { if (blocks & bit) { fn(x + col, y + row); } if (++col === 4) { col = 0; ++row; } } }; var pieces = [i,j,l,o,s,t,z]; var next = pieces[Math.round(Math.random( 0 ,…" he started whispering each word, letter and symbol clearly, but loud enough to be heard by those near to him.

The score wrote one hundred thousand and fifty.

"What's he saying?" Jason whispered to Ryan's ear not wanting to speak loudly and break the youngster's concentration.

"He can understand math. He can practically visualise the game's code, recite it and that's why he will not lose. He knows when what piece is coming, at what rate the pieces are starting to fall faster. He is in his own world now, playing in his own back yard, and that boy won't know what hit him."

"… function eachblock(type, x, y, dir, fn) { var bit, result, row = 0, col = 0, blocks type.blocks[dir]; for(bit = 0x8000 ; bit > 0 ; bit = bit >> 1) { if (blocks & bit) { fn(x + col, y + row); } if (++col === 4) { col = 0; ++row; } } }; var pieces = [i,j,l,o,s,t,z]; var next = pieces[Math.round(Math.random( 0 , pieces.length- 1 ))]; function occupied (type, x, y, dir) { var result = false eachblock(type, x, y, dir, function (x, y) { if ((x < 0 ) || (x >= nx) || (y < 0 ) || (y >= ny) || getBlock(x,y)) result = true ; }); return result; }; var pieces =…"

The score had increased to five hundred thousand. The pieces now falling at higher and higher speed.

"But surely the pieces will start falling too fast at some point?!" Jason continued, in increasing disbelief in Malthe's gaming and math abilities.

"Not going to happen, see how his eyes are not moving, he is in the zone, you could blast a warhead next to him and he wouldn't notice," Ryan answered him grinning widely, feeling proud and awed by his younger brother.

"…[i,j,l,o,s,t,z]; var next = pieces[Math.round(Math.random( 0 , pieces.length- 1 ))]; function unoccupied (type, x, y, dir) { return !occupied(type, x, y, dir); }; var pieces = []; function randomPiece () { if (pieces.length == 0 ) pieces = [i,i,i,i,j,j,j,j,l,l,l,l,o,o,o,o,s,s,s,s,t,t,t,t,z,z,z,z]; var type = pieces.splice(random( 0 , pieces.length- 1 ), 1 )[ 0 ]; // remove a single piece return { type : type, dir : DIR.UP, x : 2 , y : 0 }; }; var KEY = { ESC: 27, SPACE: 32, LEFT: 37, UP: 38, RIGHT: 39, DOWN: 40 }, DIR = { UP: 0, RIGHT: 1, DOWN: 2, LEFT: 3, MIN: 0, MAX: 3 }, stats = new Stats(), canvas = get('canvas'), ctx = canvas.getContext('2d'), ucanvas = get('upcoming'), uctx = ucanvas.getContext('2d'), speed = {…"

The score now wrote nine hundred and sixty thousand. The Tetris arcade had now been completely encircled by children of all ages and both sexes.

"For how long can he sustain this? Is it not harmful to him?" Jason was now getting worried.

"Do you get hurt or harmed when you breathe?" Ryan asked him completely calm, but also excited by Malthe's obvious and, to him and Christian, expected victory over the other boy.

"… start: 0.6, decrement: 0.005, min: 0.1 }, // seconds until current piece drops 1 row nx = 10, // width of tetris court (in blocks) ny = 20, // height of tetris court (in blocks) nu = 5…" Now the score wrote a million and ten thousand.

"Enough…enough… you win!" the teenager stammered out and left as quickly as he could, everyone else now cheering Malthe.

Malthe came out of his trance-like state, his hands left the arcade and he looked at Jason smiling. Christian hugged and kissed his cheek.

Christian then proceeded to give Jason a kiss on his lips surprising the older boy.

"Huh? What was that for?!" Jason asked looking at Christian his eyes bulging.

"For protecting my Malthe, silly!" Christian whispered in his ear giggling before giving him another kiss on his cheek.

Jason smiled and tickled him some before hugging him back and set him down.

"Uhh…hi…I'm Johanna… Johanna," a voice behind Ryan spoke making him turn to find the source of the voice.

She giggled as he stammered out an answer. "Aaa…h…hi…I'm Ryan Jarrow!"

She had dark hair that reached just below her shoulders, blue sparkling eyes. She looked to be his age, having just entered puberty, her body was changing from a girl's body to a woman's, her breasts had started to grow and her legs were long, even though she was slightly shorter than Ryan. Her face had pimples around her cheeks, with thin lips and a prominent chin.

She was smiling and her hand was playing with her hair nervously.

Her t-shirt must have been a size smaller as it hanged on her tightly and her skinny girl's jeans fitted her lower body and crotch in a way that increased her sexiness.

"That was soooo cool! George can be such an idiot! But your brother is so amazing! How does he do that!? And oh my god!! He is soooo cute!!!" She spoke really fast saying everything in one breath.

"Yeah, thanks, well he is a special boy! Do you live in Brave Lake Village? I am new and all, so I don't know all that many people…" he said, his hands fidgeting with each other nervously.

She giggled batting her eyelids. "No, I live in the nearby village of Mountain's reach. I haven't seen you here before. I'd remember someone so cute, are you new here?" she asked, interlocking her hands in front of her pelvis.

"Damn she looks cute and sexy!" Ryan thought and blushed. "Ehhhrr…so you come here often? In the mall I mean?"

"Ummm…yeah it's like the only descent place around here to hang out and have…fun!" she said with more eye batting.

"Well, I don't know about that. I'll take your word for it, it is nice though…" the twins and Jason had begun to look at each other and giggle making Ryan even more nervous.

"I really do not know what they did for fun before this was built a few years ago! Maybe we can hang out together…you know…" she said, swaying her waist ever so slightly and seductively left and right.

Ryan's throat felt dry and coarse. He was almost panting like he had run for miles and his temples had begun to sweat.

He swallowed and cleared his throat not knowing what to do with his hands, bringing them up folding them, bringing them down on his sides.

"Uhhh…yeah sure…I'd like that….give me your phone and I'll call you…" he said, his voice breaking slightly. He tried to smile and act cool, but his heart was racing a hundred kilometers an hour.

"Sure, give me your mobile and I'll type it in…" she said extending her hand towards him.

He retrieved his mobile from his backpack and gave it to her after unlocking it. Their fingers touched for the briefest of moments and to Ryan it was exhilarating, full of life and electricity.

She punched in her number and saved it with her name.

"Well I have to go now…" she said and turned waving her hair around giggling.

"Yeah…I'll call you…"

The twins started giggling and within seconds Jason joined them.

"Why you twerps!!" Ryan exclaimed and started tickling Christian's ribs and then Malthe's. The twins giggled uncontrollably, their hands trying to free themselves from Ryan, their legs and waists wiggling and shaking from the laughing the tickling brought.

"Stooopp!!! Stooopp! I am going to pee myself you dork!!" Christian said amidst giggles.

"Looks like you will have a hot date!" Jason said, trying not to laugh, and actually feeling happy for his friend.

Ryan blushed some, "Yeah…we'll see…what shall we play now until Peter comes?"

"How about I defeat you in a car race?!" Christian asked pinching his jeans-covered ball sack, satisfying one of those common itches that seem to appear in boys and like now sometimes they get a subconscious reaction out of the boy that is having it, not even realising he's doing that in public.

It didn't go unnoticed by Jason and Ryan who shook their heads looking at each other knowingly.

"My little angel muffin, there is no way on this Earth you can defeat me in car racing!" he said heading to the nearest car racing arcade.

"Yes there is!!" They played some car racing, and Christian did win some of it, but then again Ryan had let him win, wanting to make his younger brother happy. They played some more of the various arcades until Peter found them, having finished with his errands.

Malthe hugged him close and Christian started giggling again as if it was obvious as to why he was giggling. His sounds being infectious made Jason and Malthe giggle as well before long.

"Okay, what is going on. I don't know about you, Jason, but Malthe almost never giggles." Peter stated raising a brow, smiling uncertainly of what was happening.

Ryan crossed his hands in front of his chest and rolled his eyes. "I met this girl…we chatted for a bit and I got her mobile number…" he said, feeling a lot less embarrassed about the whole event from back when it happened.

Peter chuckled, "My little bro is all grown up and is about to have his first girlfriend!" he said with a look on his face between serious and teasing.

Ryan poked his tongue out at him and started walking towards the arcades entrance.

They said their goodbyes to Garry and they left.

"So what will you grow on the agricultural lands for an income?" Ryan asked him as they drove off from the mall.

"Well I'd love to be able to grow grape vines and make my own wine. It's what I've studied after all, but the weather will not allow for it I am afraid."

"Why?" Ryan asked genuinely interested.

"Grapes need a lot of sun you see to grow up proper and produce good quality wine, it is all down to territory, having a good ground and environment, good grape variety and lots and lots of sun. Finally of course what the barrels they are stored in to ferment and age are also essential for the extra flavours and after tastes. The territory we have, the Estate with the forest on one side and the very fertile agricultural lands is perfect for growing wine, as the water from the mountain comes down in streams and underground springs transferring lots of nutrients and different "flavours" from the mountain and forest into the agricultural lands. I can hire an expert to cut down some trees from the forest and make some really good wooden barrels, for different wines, reds and whites. We could have different tree types like oak or cherry wood, which will give the wines completely different aftertastes, and I could hire a wine connoisseur of some reputation that would help me get the whole project up and running, but none of this matters any, since we have barely any sun at all, constant fog, drizzle and rain do not help. You can have a producer who makes overall good or great wine and one year may be better or worse from the previous or next year by how much sun that year had," Peter answered him looking disappointed with the absence of sun from the climate.

"What about the vine seeds? Do we have good quality ones?" This time it was Malthe who asked, bending forward from the back seat, placing his hands on the back of Peter's seat and his chin on it, looking at Peter through the rear-view mirror.

"Yes, Grandpa always used to boast how a friend of his had given him a few different varieties of red and white grape-making seeds after losing them in a game of poker. Supposedly, they are worth a fortune if purchased in the open market or another producer."

"What if they could be made not to need any sun?" Malthe continued his questioning.

"It is impossible; it is in the genetic structure of the grape vine, but if that could be…bypassed or changed…then yes I think that eventually after a few years of initial trial error and much work we could be making world class wine," Peter said in an almost dream-like voice, as if he was daydreaming.

Malthe said nothing and leaned back to his seat, looking outside thinking, always thinking. He took out his textpad and started writing numbers and symbols.

They arrived at the Brave Lake Village and after parking the car, they headed to the diner.

"Hey sis, this is my new friend, Ryan and his brothers Christian, Malthe and Peter!" Jason said, hugging his sister.

"Yes, we've met with Peter, pleased to meet you three! I am glad Jason has friends again," she said and Peter kissed the top of her palm after taking her hand in his to shake as a greeting but then deciding to press his luck if only a little and see how she would react.

Using her other hand she rubbed her neck and threw her hair back, waving her head, giggling.

He smiled and let go of her hand after lingering for but a moment. They sat down at one of the free tables.

"Maria, quit your lazing about and go take an order! I am not paying you to flirt with the customers!" a middle aged, balding guy said to her rudely making her blush angry.

"I am taking orders, stop busting my chops. The only reason you have clients in this pigsty is me, so let me work!" she said back in a fierce tone, her brows furrowed together, her eyes displaying a menacing, turbulent, seething anger below her pleasant, joyful exterior. She would take bullshit from no one and called things as they were.

"My kind of woman," Peter thought and smiled.

"I'll have a coffee and some apple pie," Peter said.

Ryan ordered a vanilla smoothie and a toast. Christian ordered a burger and fries with coca cola and Malthe ordered a strawberry Sunday ice-cream.

She wrote it all down and she left, smiling.

"What's up Jason?" Ryan asked seeing his friend distraught in his thoughts.

"That…asshole! He is always giving her a hard time. She doesn't know I know, but he asked her out the other day and when she declined, he thought of some bullshit excuse and didn't give her the money from the tips she had earned that day. He is always making passes at her, giving her lewd comments and such. I guess she's handling it, but she can't do much…she needs the work to pay the rest and bills…I…I…it's been the two of us since…- he looked at Peter and sighed- well since my mother passed away and dad left us, and she's had to give up so much to raise me. She didn't go to college so she could stay here and work, otherwise I would have to go to a foster home until she finished and could get a job and…well it's all my fault…" he said lowering his head, his eyes tearing up.

"No!…" Peter said instantly in a definitive final sort of voice, his hands holding each other on a ninety degrees angle on the table supporting his torso. "…It's not your fault, Jason, just as it's not Ryan's or the twins' fault that our parents died…shit happens to good people and it's no one's fault…or at least not yours or mine or Ryan's, it was the fault of whoever is responsible for putting that fire in the theatre our father and Lucinda died, and it's your father's fault that he couldn't handle the loss and abandoned you two to fend for yourselves when he should have stood by you and done his best to support both of you, but under no circumstances is any of it your fault Jason. Both your sister and I decided to stand by our brothers when shit hit the fan and we would have it no other way. I do not yet know her that well, but I am sure she would tell you much the same if and when you discuss this with her and you should at some point if you haven't already. You are a great person, Jason and let no one tell you otherwise," he said never breaking eye contact with Jason who nodded his head and smiled meekly.

"So you like my sister, do you?" Jason asked with a sly smile making Ryan cough and Christian giggle furiously.

"Uhmm…well…yeah…she's gorg….a great person," Peter stammered out, the first time Ryan ever heard him stammering an answer when he usually had no problem answering no matter how uncomfortable or difficult the question.

"Cool! No problems from me. Go after her if you think you can handle her..." he said making Ryan giggle, Christian almost fell from his chair from the intensity and frequency of his giggles.

"Yeah, you're laughing now, I'll be laughing in a few years when you're in an age to start dating girls!" he said chuckling. Christian straightened out and made a grimace of disgust.

"Eeeww!!! Girls are yucky!!" he said in his high-pitched voice. It was Peter's time to laugh now at the youngster's reaction. It reminded him of himself and even Ryan a few years back.

"Oh Christian, if you only knew…puberty is going to hit you like a brick! There is no boy on Earth that doesn't think that girls are yucky as you put it around your age…then you reach Ryan's age and girls are all you can think about…unless you like boys, in which case the reactions you'd be having with girls you're having with boys…but I guess you're young for all that yet…" he said, trying to contain his laughter. Ryan and Jason had no such problems and were holding their bellies at Christian's gradient of facial expressions changed.

Malthe had giggled at first, but now he was observing the whole situation with his usual serene, inquisitive look.

"Yeah, Chris, just wait a few years and you'll be wanting to kiss them!" Ryan continued while trying to contain his laugh.

"Eeeeewwwwww!!! No waaayyyy!!! Girls…girls are too messy!! They are yucky!!" Christian chirped, making a sort of "I smelled or tasted something horrible" grimace sending his older brothers and Jason into a fit of giggles and laughter.

"Y…yes, way little bro and you have noooo idea what other naughty stuff you'll be wanting to do with them!! In no time they'll be making you…come all messy!!" Ryan continued which made Peter and Jason and himself almost pee themselves from the hysterical laughter.

Just then Maria came back with their orders looking like she had "Boys!" written all over her forehead, shaking her head in disbelief but smiling at the same time.

"What are you guys laughing about? The whole place can hear you! Even inside the kitchen! We don't have all that many clients what with the new restaurant that opened a couple of months ago. Don't drive away the few that we have!" she said mockingly.

"Well…I can't do anything about that…boys can be…loud!" Peter told her looking straight in her eyes, feeling lost inside them.

"Yeah…don't I know!?" she said right back looking at Jason for a second before returning to Peter's eyes.

Jason blushed and rubbed the back of his neck nervously but said nothing.

She started giving each of them their order, plate after plate of it until she finished and lingered a second more as if waiting for something. Just as she was ready to turn her back, Peter found the courage to speak.

"I was wondering if you would like to go out with me…someday," he said, swallowing hard, feeling lightheaded. He barely knew her and yet he had never felt like this for a girl before and he'd had plenty of girlfriends along the years.

Christian and Malthe tried to stifle giggles and Ryan rolled his eyes at the whole exchange, but he could not help a smile.

Maria giggled, biting her lower lip but said nothing. She gave her brother a kiss on his forehead and left them.

"Keep giggling and I might just throw you with your clothes in the pool when we return home!" Peter told the twins when he found his speech again. It of course caused them to laugh hysterically. He shook his head and chuckled.

Ryan made an unconscious move and pinched his package, rearranging it to stop an itch that was developing but his eye caught Jason stealing a glance at him. He blushed and brought his hand up to the table grasping at his fork. What made him blush more was that he had been trying to steal a glance at his best friend as well. The last few months or so it would seem that first with Ben and now the last couple days with Jason, he was trying to steal glances, ogle and fool around with each of them as often as possible. He was horny all day, all night, every day and night, anything with a hole seemed…well…fuckable and desirable.

What was happening to him? Was this, this puberty thing he kept hearing? Well, he still didn't have any pubic hair or any hair other than his head as of yet, even though he had started ejaculating more or less a couple of months after his twelfth birthday.

He was deep in thoughts throughout the rest of lunch until Peter left the money on the table. They got up and headed for the door but Maria stepped up to Peter giving him a paper napkin with her mobile number on it.

"Call me…someday…" she told him as they smiled at each other. Peter felt goose bumps and butterflies on his skin, in his stomach. He felt like he could laugh and scream at the whole world at exactly how good he felt.

She left and Peter heard Christian giggling.

"Right! Now you've had it my little munchkin!" he told the boy and raised him up, holding him from his waist and ribs as he upturned him and started tickling him furiously on his sensitive ribs.

"HAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!! PLEASEEEEE STOPPPPPPP!!! NOOOOO!! I'LL peee myself, silly!! AHAHAHAHHAHAHA PRETTY PLEASEEEE!!!" he kept repeating until Peter placed him on the ground.

"Well, since you ask so politely." Peter chuckled.

Maria kissed her brother goodbye and pinched the twins' noses making them smile.

They exited the diner chatting, when a teenager came up to them looking nervous. He was holding hands with a girl his age, probably his girlfriend.

He looked at Jason, his mouth opening and closing as if he wanted to say something but didn't quite know how to voice it. Jason had his hands in his pockets and looked to be in a similar state of mind.

Peter took the twins and headed to the car, that was parked a few cars down from the entrance of the diner. Ryan started to walk towards the car but Jason held his elbow and stopped him.

"No! Don't go, Ryan, you are the only one who stood up for me, even though you were a complete stranger," he said with more sadness than bitterness or anger towards the boy he obviously knew well.

"I…I…I am truly sorry for my behaviour, Jason…I…you know…should have….stood by you…" The teenager was looking to the ground looking really sad, his toes stabbing at the pavement nervously.

Ryan checked the new older-looking teenager out. He had dark blond hair, only his were straight and lacked Jason's volume, his eyes were dark green and sort of slanted like an elf's although he had no other Asian characteristics. His nose and chin complimented his face and he had full red lips. His body looked lean as well, but a lot more muscular than Jason. He was slightly taller than both him and Jason with Jason being the shortest. His jeans tented outwards making Ryan wonder of what he had hidden under there. He blushed at the thought and his eyes darted elsewhere.

"It's okay, Sebastian…I…don't mind, I forgive you…" Jason said and Ryan could tell he meant it.

"No, it's not okay. I am your cousin and I should have ignored Terry and his bullshit and stood by you and your sister in such a difficult time for you both, but I will change that from now on," he said, looking better as he tried to smile at his cousin, the nervousness going away since Jason hadn't rejected him.

The girl's face told another story, though. She looked furious with him. She let go of his hand and crossed her hands in front of her torso taking a defensive posture.

"I wouldn't do that Sebastian. It will greatly diminish your reputation at school, if you start hanging out with this loser!" she said, venom dripping from her words and arrogant malice.

"Jason is my cousin, my flesh and blood, if standing by his side means losing my rep at school, so be it, now get lost," he told her with equal measure of venom and malice. She looked shell-shocked, her mouth opening and closing before she just turned round and started walking off, her fists clenched by her sides. Ryan could swear he could see fumes coming out of her ears and nose.

Jason leaped forward and hugged Sebastian tightly, tears streaming down his cheeks. "Thank you, cuz!!" he said, his eyes closed before he let go. Sebastian hugged him back.

Sebastian, Ryan noticed was sporting and a woody when he let go of Jason. He rearranged it subconsciously making Ryan giggle spontaneously.

Sebastian looked at him with a smirk. "What? It's like I'm a fourteen year old walking woody, all day, every day!" he said, giggling, making Ryan and Jason laugh.

Ryan walked ahead by a stride, and even though he didn't do it consciously for that reason, it allowed Sebastian to check him out as all boys do.

Ryan, as Sebastian saw, had a solid but fluid build, long coltish legs, under his clothes he thought he must already have muscle toning and the start of a six pack forming. He had short, messy dark hair, an oval shaped head with two green orbs that could capture your soul, a smile that was infectious on his pinkish lips that formed an "M" and rosy cheeks that still held that fleeting boyness. His hands may not have had bulk, but they looked to be sort of "dense" muscled, like someone had taken the bulk volume and squeezed it in there. From what he had seen before Ryan turned, he also had a nice spherical bulge down between his legs.

Sebastian couldn't explain why but it created goose bumps on his skin and a sensation of flying butterflies in his stomach and a tingling sensation…down there. It was all very confusing for the growing teenager.

Ryan and Jason entered the car, leaving Sebastian fidgeting with his hands not knowing what to do.

"Hop in. I'm Peter, and these two devils are Christian and Malthe."

Sebastian smiled, got in the car next to Ryan and shook Peter's hand.

"My name's Sebastian sir, pleased to meet you," he said smiling. Peter started the car and they drove off, and soon they were out of the town. After that, they were standing in front of the Estate's outer gates waiting for Ryan to open them.

"Uhmm…sir why are we here? This is the private road to the Brave Lake Manor," Sebastian said, looking towards Peter in the front of the car. Jason giggled inwards, remembering his reaction a month ago.

"That's 'cause we live here, silly!" Christian chirped giggling.

Sebastian was awestruck. He turned his head to look at Jason who just giggled and shrugged his shoulders. Jason told him of how he had found out and then what the inscription on the top of the gates said.

The car started again and they passed the heavy doors. Ryan closed them and climbed back in the car.

"You could have told me where you lived!" he told Ryan who laughed.

"Well, it's not like I've known you for days!" Ryan protested jokingly.

Sebastian didn't know why, but looking at Ryan made him bite his lower lip. He was starting to have some very confusing feelings.

Malthe watched it all with inquiring eyes before returning to his textbook.

They got out of the car and Peter parked it. Sebastian couldn't stop looking at the building and its majestic beauty, his eyes roaming it all from top to bottom until he saw a plaque just above the front doors. It had a male lion holding a thorned red rose and in the middle of the plaque above the lion in an arch it wrote "Virtute et honore. Familia ante omnia" in black calligraphic letters.

"What does that mean? What language is it?" Sebastian asked pointing at the Plaque.

"It's Latin, Bravery and honour. Family above all," Peter said before entering the Manor.

Christian gave off a mischievous giggle as he tried to go behind Jason and tickle him but of course giggling while you try to be stealthy is not a sound strategy, so Jason turned round fast and giving off a Tarzan like yell he started hunting Christian around the car until with a final leap he grabbed the screaming boy's wrist and then waist and proceeded to tickle his ribs and tummy until the squirming boy was laughing to the point of hysteria.

Sebastian noticed that Christian was sporting an erection as Jason tickled him and stretched the fabric of his shorts. To his horror Sebastian noticed that now he was starting to tent his jeans.

Why was another boy's erection creating one in him he wondered but nodded it off and rearranged his boyhood through his jeans to make it more comfortable and maybe deflate it before someone noticed. Unlike before in the diner now he was getting an erection for reasons he didn't like or understand.

They entered the Manor and Ryan introduced him to Mr. Giles and a few of the others that were around in the huge living room cleaning and going about their jobs.

"Guys, the construction crews will come in about two hours, you can do what you like until then, but I will need Ryan's help from then on forwards for the remainder of the day," Peter told them.

"We will help as well, sir," Jason and Sebastian said almost simultaneously.

"Yes, I'll help, too!!" Christian said in his happy, teasing voice.

"Call me Peter, please. Chris, we want to repair the house not bring it down, sweetheart!" Peter said and left for the library.

"HEY!!!" Christian tried to act hurt and offended but he giggled it off.

The cousins nodded their okay and turned to Ryan.

Malthe was listening to his music, headphones in his ears, textpad in one hand, and pencil in the other, lost in his world.

Sebastian looked around with saucer eyes at the details of the spacious living room.

"Look at that fireplace! It's huge!! Can you imagine sitting in front of it in the cold of winter and playing cards or board games, or video games…if it only had a TV nearby," Sebastian said, grinning at the possibility of sitting by a lit fireplace.

"Yeah, the cool part is that most if not all the bedrooms upstairs have their own fireplaces as well! Well we haven't unpacked the stuff even though they arrived a couple of days ago. We can't unpack and place everything until the repairs have finished, but I do think we'll be placing a TV set somewhere in the living room," Ryan said.

"How about I show you the house and then we go outside in the pool…it is way too hot to do anything else!" Ryan continued.

"Yeah, sure! This place is amazing!" Sebastian replied.

"I want to go and explore the forest, Ry!" Christian said, stretching his hands and legs upwards.

Sebastian thought he looked so unbearably sexy, in a young boyish cute sort of way.

"What the hell?" he thought in horror. "Yes, let's go! I want to see the rest of the Manor!" he said in a hurried voice.

"Christian, don't go too far inside the forest. If you get injured there will be no one to help you, and be back in two hours if you want to help with the repairs," Ryan told him as the kid speeded off towards the front entrance.

They walked about the Manor with Ryan telling Sebastian all he knew and ended up back in the living room.

"Uhmm…Ryan, I was thinking…how do we swim?" Sebastian asked, obviously thinking something.

Ryan looked at him with an incredulous look on his face. "Well…you know… you jump in the water and you flap your hands around so that you float!" he said trying not to bust out laughing.

"I didn't mean it like that, you shit!!" Sebastian exclaimed and slugged Ryan's shoulder.

"Ouch! Hey! That hurt, dirt-weed!" Ryan rubbed his shoulder and laughed, "Well we can either go skinny dipping or go in our underwear…whatever you want…I don't mind," Ryan said and blushed for suggesting they go skinny dipping.

"Aaawww you look so cute when you're blushing!" Jason told him with a between serious and teasing look on his face and gave him a quick hug. It made Ryan blush even more however.

They had known each other only for a few weeks but their friendship was flourishing and strengthening as if they had known each other since birth.

"Let's go in our underpants," Sebastian said at the same time that his hand flew through the space between their bodies and swatted Ryan's buttocks. Ryan tried to avoid it but the "smack" was heard loudly over the large room.

"Mmmm such a nice sound!" Sebastian said, laughing and leaped away to avoid Ryan's hand directed at his buns.

"Fuckweed!! I'll get you for that!" Ryan exclaimed and ran after his friend. He caught him by the pool side and they started wrestling. Sebastian was not nearly as muscular as Ben, so Ryan had no problem actually pinning him to the pool tiles quite a few times even if Sebastian was a year older.

In the end, it was obvious they were evenly matched. Sebastian pinned him down and got up, starting to remove his clothes.

Soon all three of them were in their underwear. Jason jumped in the pool whereas Ryan and Sebastian were checking each other out now that no garments covered their teenage bodies.

Just like Sebastian had thought, Ryan had quite a muscle tone on him even if he didn't have almost any bulk. His arms reminded him of many ropes tied together in spirals; his torso and abs were also almost as if sculpted and he could see that by the time he reached fourteen he would have that ever sought after six pack. As Sebastian's eyes travelled lower he saw Ryan's underwear tenting, it looked so…delicious and at about 3 inches long if he had to guess. It made his breath come short and rugged and not just from the physical excursion of wrestling with him.

Ryan saw Sebastian was very lean and with toning mostly from the waist down. He guessed Sebastian liked to bike and hike a lot and so his legs and abs had developed more than his torso or arms. He saw that Sebastian's boyhood was also making its presence known, standing erect and proud. From within his briefs it looked to be around three to four inches.

"Come on guys, jump in!! It is so cool and nice!!" Jason called out to them breaking their trance. They jumped in the water head first and started splashing around with Jason, trying to dunk each other under the water's surface. Jason was the one that was mostly underwater with Sebastian second after him. They played around, swam and competed with each other on who was the fastest one, with Jason winning here by a stretch and, of course, being the teenagers that they were, they constantly tried groping each other's packages out.

An hour later, they got out of the water and lay on the loungers to sunbathe under the glorious sun.

Ryan wore a lycra underpants style briefs that now wet, glued to his body while Jason and Sebastian wore boxer briefs that now wet, also pressed tightly against their thirteen and fourteen year old bodies respectively. Ryan couldn't take his eyes off his friends' crotches. They looked so inviting yet he knew deep inside him that he wasn't gay, but something was drawing him to his friends' nether-lands. It was confusing him and turning him on to no end that he wanted or liked ogling at the outlines of his friends' penises like that.

Something in him reacted like the flow of energy in the Chinese yin and yang and in an almost subconscious level, he took out his mobile phone from his Jeans and dialled Johanna's number.

It rang. The agony of waiting overtook him. He had never felt like this before. It was exhilarating. His throat was dry, swallowing impossible, his heart was racing and his breathing fast.

She answered. His pupils dilated. He secretly hoped that she wouldn't, but at the same time, he wanted her to answer.

"H…hi…Johanna? It's Ryan…from the mall the other day?" he said nervously.

Jason and Sebastian propped up to their elbows to look towards his direction. They were giggling and making kissing grimaces with their lips and faces.

"Yes…I'm well…how are you?" His free hand fidgeting with the material of his underwear. He tried his best to ignore his friends.

"I…I…wanted to ask you…if you….ehhhmmm…wanted to go out with me…like tomorrow…" He felt like his life was hanging on a thread, the thread being her answer. She had such a peculiar voice, sweet but yet…irritating…he thought it was interesting, one of the hundreds of thoughts that crossed his mind in the two seconds it took her to giggle and answer back.

"Well…if you can't tomorrow, maybe another day then?" She must have liked his persistence because she said yes after some more tantalising giggling.

"Great!! Well, it's Monday…so how about Wednesday?" Jason's eyes were now tearing from the giggling and Sebastian looked somehow disappointed.

"Yeah, Friday is perfect as well. Okay I'll see you then. Maybe we can text until then? Great! Byes!" Ryan terminated the call and looked over at his friends trying to look as angry as he did not succeed, but his joy from getting a date with a girl - finally! - overextended his acting talents. He threw his t-shirt at Jason when he wolf-whistled at him. They all busted laughing before settling down and continued sunbathing.

Ryan was lying on his stomach and Sebastian had a perfect side view of his muscular and almost bubble like butt-cheeks.

It was a good thing he had his leg raised because his pride and joy between his legs was standing at full attention despite his desire not to, but apparently it had a mind of its own. A very irritating fact, but then again he was, as he had earlier said to Ryan, a walking hard-on these days and now to boot, he had such a spectacle in front of his eyes.

Jason was lying on his stomach as well, his lean butt sticking up in the air, making it curve outwards more than usual since the lounger made an outwards curve for the knees and legs.

Ryan couldn't stop staring at Jason's behind, and the friction that the lounger was providing to his tube of flesh was not making things easier for him.

He looked over at Sebastian, just to get Jason's wet body out of his mind but it didn't do him much good since Sebastian was on his back, his boxer briefs sticking to his navel and crotch, a boner outline clearly visible.

Sebastian gave him a sly smile and angled his leg in just the right amount. Now Ryan had an almost unobstructed view of his friend's pole. He could see the bulbous, purple-ish head. Ryan could tell that he was hard and that his dick curved slightly downwards.

He turned his head but it didn't help him at all with his not-so-little problem between his legs so he got up in a flash and jumped in the pool to cool off.

A few seconds later, his head was above the water's surface when he felt a warm breath by his ear and a hand snaking down, towards his place of intimate treasures.

"I bet I know why you jumped in the water?!" Sebastian's voice whispered in his ear. Ryan whimpered when he felt Sebastian's hand give his speedo-covered boy-rod a squeeze.

Ryan turned round and looked him in the eyes, "What…what do you mean?" he asked him with a croaked voice.

Sebastian bit his lower lip and shrugged his shoulders smiling mischievously.

They started to laugh awkwardly, each of them unsure of what to do or not do next, sort of waiting for the other to do something first and discover the other's limits. They remained in this state of limbo for a few minutes until Ryan splashed him and walked out of the water.

For the rest of the time they sunbathed and dried off in the unusually hot weather. Of course, all three of them tried from time to time to sneak peeks at each other, their teenage hormones starting to make their will known.

Peter opened the glass door and yelled for them that it was time to get dressed as the construction crew had just arrived. Just then something came out of the glass door in a whirl of blond hair and with a war cry of giggles jumped in the pool. Seconds later Christian's wet head popped out of the water's surface grinning from ear to ear.

"So hot out there!! I needed that!" he said as he climbed out of the pool. Peter had gone inside the house.

"Chris!! Not with your clothes on!" Ryan said exasperated.

"Why? I was so hot from walking and exploring the forest!!" Christian asked with an innocent, teasing look on his face.

"Hot and dirty you little shit! The water in the pool is floriated and cleaned by filters, so you can't go jumping inside with your clothes AND SHOES ON!! Come on Christian!!" he continued irritated.

"Sorry, Ry!" The little child said bulging out his eyes, pouting his lips, Ryan could see that the sensitive boy had been hurt by his angry response.

He sighed and gave Christian a kiss on his forehead. "I'm sorry Chris, just don't do it again, alright?" Christian grinned and nodded.

They headed inside and soon enough they were helping the construction crew with what they needed, transporting materials and tools, glasses of water from the kitchen and just being helpful in whatever ways they could. The day passed fast like that and the constant action and movement allowed Peter, Ryan and Christian to get their minds out of less enjoyable thoughts.

When night started to settle, Ryan asked his friends if they wanted to sleepover.

"I have to go home tonight. It's movie night with sis, but we'll talk in the morning!" Jason said, kissed Sebastian on the cheek hugging his cousin and bumped knuckles with Ryan before giving each other a hug.

He left.

"I can call my parents and ask them, I don't think they'll have a problem with it," Sebastian said, smiling.

Sebastian fetched his mobile phone from his messenger's style bag, punched in his home number and after speaking with his parents he hung up grinning.

"Done! I can spend the night!" he said.

"Food should be getting ready. Unfortunately, I don't have many things we can do together. My things are all packed up," Ryan told him as they walked towards the dining room.

"No problem, mate. We'll find something to play with," Sebastian answered him. What made Ryan raise a brow was the sly smile on his new friend's mouth.

"What's for dinner?" Ryan asked his older brother who was sitting on his chair in the dining room.

"Herby toad in the hole, Crispy topped Cumberland pie and summer pudding. I supposed Sebastian will be sleeping over?" Peter responded, looking up from the book he was reading.

"If it's not a problem, sir…uhm I mean Peter," Sebastian said while trying to read the book's tittle upside down.

"No problem at all, Sebastian. Sit, the food should be here momentarily, I've sent Mr. Giles to find the twins," he said, setting his book aside. Sebastian could now see that it was "The Prince and the Pauper" by Mark Twain.

Just then the twins came bursting in through the doors. Actually, Christian came bursting through the doors while Malthe walked in after him at a steady pace looking intensely at Sebastian and how he looked at Ryan and then Christian as well as how Christian looked at the older teen.

Christian gave Ryan a hug from behind and then sat on Peter's lap, giving him a tight hug and a kiss on the cheek. Peter chuckled and hugged the little lithe cherub, rubbing his back for a few seconds before he set him back on his feet making Christian giggle at how easily Peter could raise him as if he weighed no more than a feather.

Christian jumped on his chair whereas Malthe pulled it back, sat on it, pulled it near the table and then set his textpad and pencil on his legs.

"What are you writing on your textpad, Malthe? School hasn't started yet." Sebastian tried to make small talk while they waited for the food to arrive.

Malthe looked at him, studied him for a few seconds and then penetrated his eyes with his own.

"School work? I have finished all possible school work until graduation. All that is required is for it to happen. I write the language of the universe, ideas, possibilities and variables, knowledge of what can be, will be, might be," the boy said and lowered his head finding his empty plate of more interest than anything else around him.

Sebastian looked over at Ryan with his jaw slightly open in disbelief. Ryan shrugged his shoulders and giggled at the expression on his friend's face.

"What are you looking at me for? Malthe is…well he is not thinking in the same terms as we do…you asked him a question and you should feel lucky you received an answer with more words than a shrug of his shoulders. I don't usually understand what he's saying unless he wants you to understand it," Ryan said, looking at Peter who just nodded his head confirming what Ryan had said.

"It is not that I desire or not for anyone to either understand or not of what I speak of…I only desire the creation of thought and the spark of intelligence in others. An answer understood directly has failed its purpose. One must think an answer as well as a question through. They should be…food for the brain, not food for idle chatter and mindless conversation," Malthe said without looking up from his fork, which he was playing with his hand, rotating it around in various angles.

Peter chuckled shaking his head. Ryan didn't even bother looking at Sebastian with a look of "See? I told you so!" in his facial expression. Christian, of course, giggled, not at his identical drop of water counterpart, but at the reaction of his brothers and Sebastian at Malthe's responses.

"What are we having for dinner Petey?" Christian asked, making his side of the table cloth shake slightly as he swung his legs back and forth under it, his hands touching one another, holding his weight as he bent forward.

Peter repeated his earlier answer.

"What's that? I don't know that food!" Christian said as if the idea of him actually not knowing the name of a food was incredulous to him.

"The amount of what you do not know, Chris, is only dwarfed by the amount of atoms in the multiverse," Malthe said giggling, obviously finding his response as some kind of joke.

"Well, Herby toad in the hole is a selection of meaty sausages with lots of herbs and traditionally served with Yorkshire pudding, Crispy topped Cumberland pie is a crisp, potato-topped pie that is slow-cooked, and summer pudding is a selection of seasonal strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and redcurrants with a set basin brioche pudding. They should all be quite tasty!" Peter told his younger brother and anyone else that may not have known.

The food came and it was indeed very tasty to say the least. Before long, the serving platters lay completely empty of food on the table, and the boys lay relaxed back on their chairs holding their bellies feeling comfortable, full and sleepy.

"That was brilliant, Peter!!" Ryan and Sebastian said almost at the same time. They looked at each other and laughed at their unintended synchronicity.

"Yes I have to say that it was rather delicious! Mr. Giles, congratulate Mrs. Alford for us on her excellent cooking skills, please!" Peter told the man. He knew was standing straight as a soldier behind him on his right, ten steps back.

"I shall Mr. Jarrow," Mr. Giles said with a slight bow.

Two servants started emptying the table.

"So what do you want to do? Sit by the fireplace or go outside?" Ryan asked Sebastian, turning his head to view his friend.

"It's so hot inside…I think I prefer outside…" Sebastian said and got up from his chair.

"Okays!" Ryan got up heading for the loungers. Sebastian followed him.

"According to the weather service it is going to get hotter. There is a heat wave in the south, and it is probably going to come up north," Peter told them and got up from his chair.

"Christian, Malthe, it is eight o'clock. I want you to bed by ten thirty at the latest!" he told mostly Christian.

"Okay, bro!" Christian told him and the two little angels left whispering to each other.

"Well, we've got the pool and the Lake at least!" Ryan grinned at Peter.

They sat, each on a lounger.

"The Manor is extraordinary! I didn't think that such beauty could exist…or that a house could have so…amazed with it," Sebastian started the conversation.

"Yeah, I hadn't been here before so I didn't know what to expect, but it is truly a masterpiece. My…our Great Grandfather and Grandfather truly loved beauty, and loved to live in it. It sort of makes me wonder why father didn't want to live here…"

There was an awkward silence for a few seconds, until Ryan spoke answering an unasked question.

"We moved in here because…because our father and the biological mother of the twins who married our father two years ago, a wonderful woman, the only one of dad's few girlfriends that I could…almost did call mom…both died in a fire in a theatre about a month ago…my mom died giving birth to me…complications in the birth or something…Peter decided to come here to start over…," Ryan said in a sad voice. Sebastian wiped a tear off his cheek and got up sitting on his knees on the lounger and hugged Ryan.

It took Ryan by surprise at first, but he smiled and hugged his friend, well one of his two best friends, back.

"Sebastian and Jason might be cousins, but whereas Sebastian is more spontaneous and impulsive, Jason is more held back and thinks things through," he thought as he released Sebastian from the hug and gazed at him smiling.

"I'm sorry…I know how it feels to lose someone you love and care about…Aunty Caroline dying…I've been a real asshole to Jason…I mean how must he have felt? She was his mother and then his father being such a colossal motherfucker getting drunk all the time and then running off to god knows where…how can I ever make it up to Jason and his sister for my awful behaviour?" Sebastian had a mix of anger and sadness in his voice. He stared into the void away from the far edge of the pool at nothing in particular.

Ryan remained silent for a few seconds. He didn't really know what to say. Sebastian knew him only for a day after all, and he didn't want to offend him by saying something inappropriate.

"I…don't really know what to tell you, Sebastian…I don't think though that Jason holds any grudge towards you. You saw him today, and he looked so happy when you told your girlfriend to take a hike and defended him. If you don't mind me asking…why…?" he said carefully and truthfully. This conversation was turning out so differently from what he had thought when they were in the dining room.

"I…really can't explain it…up until Aunt Caroline died we were the best of friends even if we had a year difference. Jason has never been the most popular boy in school, but he had some friends. Me being the closest one…I think…I was so lost in my own sorrow for her loss that I allowed myself to…believe that it was due to Terry's bullying or the possibility of it that I drifted from him. But I see it now…seeing you standing up for him yesterday…I mean you didn't even know him and you stood up for him as if you had known him since ever…it was sort of a wakeup call for me, so today I made sure to set things straight…but I don't think that Terry will let this slide. He has been horrible to Jason about the whole thing, as if it was Jason's fault that his mother died."

"It was you yesterday, wasn't it? That told Terry that you wouldn't do that, that I didn't look afraid of him?" Ryan inquired.

"Yeah…I don't know why I didn't go to Jason right then and there with you…I feel so…sorry? Angry at me?" Sebastian was looking increasingly depressed over how he had behaved towards his cousin.

Ryan sighed, "Sebastian…like my father says…used to say, you can't change the past. What is done is done. Stressing over something you can't possibly change will not help you or Jason. Just make sure you change the present and the future, those you can change," he told him, trying to smile.

Sebastian turned his head to look at him and smiled. "Yes…you are correct. How come you don't ask me about…you know Aunt Caroline's death?"

Ryan shrugged his shoulders, "When Jason wants to tell me, he'll tell me…it does not change us being friends." Sebastian nodded and looked to the front of him, gathering his knees under his elbows, placing his head on top of them.

"Your parents…what do they do for a living?" Ryan asked, trying to change the subject.

"My mom is a lawyer, family law I think, and my father owns the groceries store towards the end of the main road, in the crossroad that leads to the old road to the abandoned mine in the base of the mountain. That old road used to be a shortcut to Braybrooke, a larger village that has a swimming pool and more infrastructure than Brave Lake Village."

"Used to?"

"Well, the road is virtually abandoned, and it has no road lights so it is really dark after sunset. It is not maintained so when it rains it becomes a torrent carrying material from the mountain slopes and left over rocks from when the mine worked downhill so it's not really safe to use it. Pity, too. Through that shortcut, it is only a half an hour walk to Braybrooke whereas if you were to follow the car road it is well over an hour by feet or bike."

"Which means that if someone wanted to have swimming lessons, he or she would have to go by car or walk for an hour? Malthe used to have swimming lessons back in the city, only activity we had managed to get him to like." Ryan rose up to his hands with each leg on each side of the lounger.

"Yeah pretty much, but maybe Peter can drive him there?"

"Or Charles Cox, the chauffeur…yeah…it would be nice if he continued swimming."

They continued talking until the glass doors opened and the twins came out to bid them goodnight.

Malthe hugged and kissed Ryan's cheek, and Ryan hugged him back, giving him a kiss on his forehead.

Christian hugged Sebastian, and, giggling, raised his head for a kiss. Sebastian thought it would be a kiss on the cheek. He was wrong. Way wrong.

Christian brought his head closer and, in a move that surprised Sebastian and made his eyes almost pop out of their sockets, kissed him full lips on lips. Christian let out a soft and barely audible moan when Sebastian recovered from the original shock and not even able to explain it to himself as to why he didn't just instantly break the kiss, kissed him back for a second or two.

Christian broke the kiss and grinned broadly before hugging him again tightly. He ran inside after giving Ryan a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Malthe watched everything, letting out a giggle when Christian had kissed Sebastian.

Malthe hugged Sebastian but didn't give him a kiss, anywhere.

Sebastian looked at Ryan, flushed and unsure of what exactly had just happened.

"Uuhhh…what just happened?" he asked him clearing his throat.

"Well…uhhmm…what's your view on homosexuality?"

"I don't have a problem…I…I…well I don't mind anyone being gay, why?"

"Well Christian is…gay."

Sebastian's eyes almost did pop out of their sockets now. "How can he possibly know at seven years old? I don't know…metaphorically speaking and I'm fourteen!!!"

"Well…he told me…two years ago…I don't know why he told me and not Peter or our father, but he told me one day that he was gay and that he really liked fooling around with Malthe. It could be that he is just too young to know the difference and that when he grows up he will start having…feelings for girls as well or solitarily and leave the fooling around days with boys behind him or it may just be that he is gay. I don't know…just please…don't tell anyone okay? I'll tell Jason at some point or maybe Christian will tell him…but you know…"

"Yes, of course I won't tell anyone! What about Malthe? Is he…?"

"No, I don't think so…he hasn't told me anything about it…but I sort of get the idea that he is fooling around with Christian because they are so young and being twins they share far more than we might realize or understand, and having a warm body in the same bed at night can be comforting you know?"

"Yeah…I remember when we were younger with Jason we would always sleep together when we had sleepovers, even though both our houses had extra rooms and beds. It was all about the closeness of it, the warmth." Sebastian smiled warmly at the remembrance of the fond memories.

"Yeah, I know back in the city I had a close friend named Ben and when we were younger we would also sleep in the same bed when we had sleepovers…although we hadn't had a sleepover for a year now…come to think of it…he was a lot more interested in…uhmm…well…busting a nut than anything else…it's weird but he hasn't called me since we left the city…hasn't been all that long to be fair but still. We used to talk almost every day…but I don't think that Malthe is gay if Christian is either…to what I said before, I think it's also that he couldn't get a girl to fool around with because of his young age even if he wanted to…not that we seem to do so well in that area either!" Ryan said giggling.

Sebastian looked away and cleared his throat. "Well you have new best friends now!" They talked for some more until they felt tired and got up heading to Ryan's room.

Once there Ryan started undressing. Sebastian stood there looking awkwardly at him.

"Come on, we're both boys, not going to see something different!" Ryan told him with a smirk tugging at his pants.

Sebastian started undressing until he stood naked as well. They checked each other out, now in the nude they could assess certain…body parts better than earlier when they had been clothed. Sebastian saw that Ryan had a three and one third inches long, one inch round boyprick, with no pubes yet, and his balls had started to loosen up and hang between his legs. Ryan saw that Sebastian had a four inch long and almost two inches thick rod that curved slightly downwards now that it had begun to harden up.

Both boys blushed and ogled and giggled at each other awkwardly until Ryan jumped him and they started wrestling on the floor laughing. Eventually Sebastian ended up on top pinning Ryan's hands behind his head.

"Ha!!" he exclaimed victoriously, "I've got you!" They were both panting and heaving from the exertion. Sebastian started getting serious until he suddenly and, without warning, brought his head forwards, giving Ryan a kiss on his soft, silky lips. Ryan pushed forwards kissing him back, moaning.

Then, just as suddenly as it had begun, it was over as Sebastian pulled back, his eyes growing as large as saucers and got off Ryan in a flash of movement, as if touched by lightning.

"Uuuhhh…I…I…am really sorry!! Please…please don't hate me!!" he stuttered, tearing up.

Ryan propped up on his elbows and then on his hands. "Why would I ever hate you?" he asked with an incredulous look on his face.

"Well…because…because I kissed you…on the mouth…I mean…that's gay…isn't it?" Sebastian asked scared of Ryan's answer and impending doom.

Ryan burst out laughing until he saw the hurt look on Sebastian's face and calmed down.

"Come on, mate! Just minutes before we were saying how boys fool around with each other because they can't find girl pussy whenever they want, even two as handsome as us! No it's not a gay act on its own and it doesn't mean that either of us is gay…besides what if either or both of us are gay?! So bleeding what? You think I'd judge or remove a friend or anyone for that matter because of that?! I don't mind just like you don't! You are one of my two best friends; you can be straight, gay, bi, pansexual, objectophiliac. I don't give a fuck, mate!" Ryan told him making Sebastian hug him impulsively.

Sebastian pulled back and grinned impishly before pushing Ryan on the mattress. Before he could ask or say anything, Sebastian's lips were on his, their hands on each other's collars, cheeks, and necks. They kissed, Sebastian pushing his tongue against the toothy barrier until it gave way and he pushed in the warm, wet cavity.

Ryan moaned and pulled him closer, tighter, now grinding his pelvis against Sebastian's, their hardening members sending waves of pleasure up to their brains.

Sebastian broke the kiss for a gasp of air, looking at his best friend, both grinning, panting.

He smiled wickedly and bent forward, kissing Ryan's neck, his hands roaming everywhere. Those perky, pointy nipples got his attention and he moved his mouth over them, licking them, nibbling them. God this felt good, he thought as he moved lower. Ryan locked his hands in the teen's hair.

"God, you're so incredibly sexy!" Sebastian mumbled eyeing Ryan's cum gun seconds before Ryan felt his breath over it and then the most incredible, unbelievable sensation ever engulfed him as Sebastian's mouth engulfed his prick.

Ryan heaved and gasped, his eyes closed, his mouth open. This felt incredible.

Sebastian sucked him. He licked at the purple dickhead, under the corona, at the shaft, sucking, bobbing his head up and down. This felt so natural to him.

Ryan was now moving his hips back and forth, fucking his friend's mouth by instinct, holding his head in his hands as Sebastian held his essence in his mouth.

Sebastian moved lower and sucked on Ryan's testicles, licking them, taking each in his mouth and giving it a bath with his tongue, coating them with saliva. He returned to Ryan's dick and sucked it until it engorged slightly more, and, pulsing with life and energy, spilled its precious load in his mouth.

Ryan arched his back, his brain exploding with new sensations and emotions, his breath heaving desperate for air, his hands grasping at the mattress now for dear life, vertigo, high, joy, sadness, his mind unable to decide, to decipher all these new feelings battering against his most inner core all at once in a never ending assault.

Sebastian lay next to him, content and happy, also rock hard. Ryan now was trying to breathe, grinning goofily in his post-orgasmic high.

He giggled and kissed him. "That. Was. Un-fucking-believable!!! I owe you one!" he told him as they drifted to sleep.

The next few days passed in a blur. The three of them helping Peter with the Manor, the crew with the repairs, the rest of the time swimming with the twins in the pool or lake, or exploring the forest and the mountain beyond the Estate with their bikes or trekking it with their feet.

Then Friday came and Ryan was nervous and irritable the whole day, being uncharacteristically rude or snappy until Peter asked him to get the garbage out and Ryan snapped at him. Peter pulled his elbow and asked him what was going on.

Ryan refused to answer at first until he saw that look on Peter's face, the look that told him that he wasn't messing around anymore. He had never managed to get Peter angrier than this look before and he wasn't about to start now.

"I…I…well I have a date with Johanna tonight…and I'm stressed…and we've been talking on the phone almost every day since…and…well…you know…I like her and all…," he said, blushing.

Peter chuckled and hugged him.

"My little brother is all grown up! So you have your first girlfriend, eh? Just be yourself, Ry, and all will go well. Remember that you are the man in this, and you don't need no fancy tricks or bullshit attitude. Just be calm and relaxed, and all will go well," he told him. Peter always had a way to calm him down, assure him and raise his self-esteem whenever it was low.

"Thanks, bro!" Ryan said, taking the garbage out.

"Anytime, Ry, anytime," Peter answered back, heading for the kitchen below to arrange for some snacks for the construction crew.

The day progressed without further incident after that. Then when the afternoon came, Peter brought them all cold lemonades made from the Estate's lemon trees and some vanilla ice cream.

"Here's for a job well done today, boys. The repairs on the roof are all done, and the repairs on the marble floors and columns have started. Ryan, it is getting late, maybe you should go get ready?" Peter told them.

"YAY!!" Christian yelled excited and ran to the table to get a lemonade and his bowl of ice cream.

Ryan finished his lemonade and ice cream and headed to take a shower.

He turned on the brass valves and got in after the water was a nice warm temperature.

As he was having his shower, he heard the door to his bathroom open and close. He giggled and shook his head. "Come on Chris, leave, I am going to be late!" he said, but got no answer.

Then someone stepped in and he felt a hand wrap around his flaccid digit. He moaned and tilted his head backwards to a soft shoulder.

"Let your best mate release your tension!" Sebastian's voice whispered in his ear almost seductively.

Ryan whimpered as Sebastian picked up the pace on jacking him off, his hips buckling back and forth he could feel Sebastian's very erect custard launcher hitting his buttocks.

Minutes later, feeling Sebastian's hot breath on his neck and hands stroking him, he cried and released his teen butter all over the shower walls.

He turned round and planted a kiss on Sebastian's lips, hugging him close. Sebastian broke the kiss and tried to exit the bathtub, but Ryan held on to his waist and smiled mischievously as he kissed and licked lower and lower.

"Thanks Sebastian, I guess…I'm about to suck my first dick," he declared to his friend, and before Sebastian could say anything, Ryan swallowed his dickhead in his mouth, tasting it with his lips and tongue.

Sebastian moaned and shoved his hips forward in a fucking motion, instinct taking over inexperience.

Ryan sucked more and more of Sebastian's fleshstick in his mouth, moaning as he went, bobbing his head, squeezing Sebastian's balls and caressing his butt. He liked the taste of it. The teen boy smell in his nostrils made him shiver.

It didn't take long for Sebastian to arch his back and cum inside Ryan's willing, sucking mouth, moaning.

His knees almost gave way under him, and Ryan had to steady him with his hands before rising to his feet.

Sebastian kissed him, tasting his own cum in Ryan's mouth, a hand on Ryan's buttocks making his friend giggle before he slapped away at the hand gently.

"That was brilliant!! I had no idea a blowjob can feel so good!" Sebastian told him, breaking the kiss.

"Yeah…I discovered that a few days ago!" Ryan quipped back at him making him blush. They laughed and got out of the bathtub, turning off the water. They dried each other out and got dressed, Ryan scoured through the luggage until he found something good to wear before closing them up and placing the protective canvas on top of them.

Jason and Sebastian sat in the back while Ryan got in the front of the SUV, and Peter got in the driver's seat.

"Okay, guys, don't bring the house down while I'm gone!" he told the twins, but was looking at Christian, chuckling.

Christian poked his tongue out and ran back inside. Malthe shrugged his shoulders and sat on the front entrance steps, taking his textpad and pencil out. His back propped up against one of the marble columns.

They left Sebastian and Jason at home. Maria gave Peter a squeeze on his hand and a kiss on his cheek, whispering to his ear that she had a great time the other day and that they should go out again before they headed to the mall.

"Okay Ry, remember you…"

"I know, Peter, thanks! I'll see you later. I'll call you to come and pick me up?"

"Yeah, send me a text about half an hour before you want me to come and pick you up. Have fun, and welcome to the club!" Peter said as they bumped knuckles and he left.

He stood in the mall's entrance and got his mobile phone out of his backpack. He was about to call Johanna when he heard her voice behind him, telling him hi.

He turned and smiled at her. "H…hi…you're looking brilliant!" he said, blushing. She was wearing a mini skirt and a cute kitty t-shirt, her hair fluttered around her face and shoulders, her lips had a glossy lipstick on them making them look so inviting, so kissable. She giggled, making his heart flutter.

"So…uhm…what do you want to do?" he asked her, feeling nervous.

She shrugged her shoulders, "I don't know, how about a movie?"

"Yeah, sure!"

They started walking towards the multiplex part of the mall.

"Do you have any brothers or sisters?" he asked, wanting to break the ice, or say something to get his mind off of the fact that he was rock hard again from seeing her alone.

"No…single child, you?"

"Yeah sure, Christian and Malthe, the twins from the other day? And Peter," he answered her.

"Oh…right yeah…" she said.

They chatted along getting to know one another until they were seated on their seats in the cinema room.

At some point in the movie, Ryan stretched his arm in the age old trick and passed his hand over her shoulders, hugging her like that. She giggled and rested her head on his shoulder. Ryan was almost sure that his grin could illuminate the dark room as he relaxed in his seat and enjoyed the rest of the film.

The movie ended, and they exited the cinema room.

"Would you like to go eat something?" Ryan asked her, more sure of himself now.

"Yeah…there's a burger king on the floor below us," she said, smiling and biting her lower lip.

They ate and talked and talked and it seemed like the night would never end. Ryan wanted it to never end, but all good things have to come to an end.

His phone rang, and he picked it up.

"Hey Ry, it's almost half twelve, I'll be there in ten minutes to pick you up."

Ryan groaned in disappointment. "Already? It's not like I have school tomorrow. It's summer!"

"Yes it is…be outside in ten minutes please," Peter told him hanging up.

"I have to go, but I had a great time…maybe we can do this again…sometime soon?"

"Yeah, sure," She said getting up from her chair.

They walked outside, and at some point he held her hand in his. She didn't pull away.

Peter was waiting in the car when they got there.

"Hello sir, my name's Johanna, you must be Ryan's dad!?" she said politely.

Peter chuckled. "No, I am his brother, I don't look that old do I?" She giggled.

Ryan explained to her what had happened, his mother and father dying.

She held her hands in front of her mouth in shock. "Aaawww!! I am soooo sorry!" she said and brought her head forward kissing his lips with hers. He kissed her back until Peter cleared his throat and Ryan broke the kiss grinning goofily. Johanna giggled, biting her lip.

"Do you want me to drive you home Johanna?" Peter asked.

"Thank you, sir, but my dad is coming to pick me up. I don't live in Brave Lake Village, you see. I live in Rock-upon-Tine. It's a village a few kilometers to the west of Brave Lake Village," she said and gave Ryan one more kiss on his cheek before they left, Ryan waving at her.

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