Highveld

by Hamster

Part 2. Riverdale 2001-2004

Chapter 1

Pete Miller was very nervous. He and his Social Worker, Judy Thomas, were approaching the town of Riverdale. It was the fifth time she had taken him to meet a possible foster family. The first four visits had not been successful. It had been clear to Pete as soon as he entered those houses that he wouldn't be happy: the parents were too old, the other children too young, one or more of their children were too aggressive. He didn't mean to be difficult and he appreciated what Judy was trying to do for him, but he didn't want to go somewhere just because there were some adults willing to be foster parents.

As they drove down into the valley, Pete liked what he saw. Gone were the flat, dry and dusty farmlands of the high veld, and in their place was a broad valley with small farms surrounded by vineyards, orchards, vegetables, and lots of trees. The place was green and luxurious. In addition there were lots of hills and in the distance a range of mountains that he knew to be the Drakensberg, or Dragon Mountains because the ridge looked like scales on a dragon's back.

Judy looked over at Pete. She could see he was anxious, and she hoped that he wouldn't be so nervous or shy that he wouldn't speak. He was such a quiet boy, not a typical almost fifteen year-old teenager, and she knew he didn't make always make a good impression at an initial meeting with a potential foster family.

"Pete, I really think this is going to be a good place." Judy said. "It's a single lady whose husband died early from cancer. She's a nurse in a doctor's office, and she's lived here all of her life. There's only one child, a boy about your age, and from what I've been told he is very easy to get on with. I've never met her before, but I'm told she's really nice and kind, and is very keen to have a foster child to keep her son company. So let's see how we make out, OK, and try not to be too shy?"

Pete just nodded and kept looking out the window, and could see the outskirts of the town. It nestled in the valley itself, but before they got there they passed a line of tall grain silos along the railway line, and then a small golf course.

"Keep a lookout for Jacaranda Street, please, Pete. They told me it was on the left before we get to the main town proper."

Pete turned his head to the left and looked out for street signs. The whole place seemed well kept, and the streets were well marked.

"Here, Judy, next left!"

Judy slowed down, took the left turn.

"It should be towards the end, on the left hand side. Number 7."

On the right was a park with a cricket field and what looked like a public swimming pool. Some kids were swimming. It was the annual vacation, after all, so nobody needed to be in school.

"OK, Pete, here we are. Let's be brave, OK?"

Pete nodded as they turned into a gateway. It was a small bungalow with three steps leading up to a verandah that stretched most of the width of the house. The front door was in the center of the verandah, with French windows on one side. The front garden was well maintained, with some grass that looked a bit brown in the summer heat, some flower beds with red and orange canna lilies, and a couple of well established jacaranda and flame trees.

Judy picked up with briefcase that contained all of the information she needed. They got out of the car, and walked up the steps. The door opened straight away.

"Oh, do come in. You must be Judy, and you must be Peter." The woman who opened the door was medium height, medium build, light brown hair, and a big smile. She looked to be about thirty five. She was quite tidily dressed in a blouse and skirt, and she still had on an apron.

"Excuse me," the lady said, "I was just finishing a little baking. Come in and sit down, both of you. I'm Gloria Barnes, but please call me Gloria!"

Pete sat next to Judy on a large couch in the middle of the living room. Cautiously he looked around, trying to sense how the place felt. Of course, it smelled wonderful, with something having been recently baked in the kitchen that he could see part of through an open door at the back of the room.

"Judy, I just made some tea. Would that be OK?"

"Yes, thank you, Gloria."

"What about you, Peter?"

Pete leaned over and whispered something to Judy.

"Oh, Gloria, he prefers to be called Pete, if that's alright with you."

"Then Pete it will be. Thanks for telling me. Pete, what would you like to drink? Orange juice, lemonade, or perhaps you prefer tea?"

Very quietly Pete said "Tea would be nice, Mrs. Barnes."

"OK, I'll be right back!"

Gloria stood up and walked into the kitchen. Pete looked around. On one side wall there was a glass fronted cabinet containing glasses and chinaware. In front was a wooden dining table with six chairs and a beautiful bunch of flowers as a centerpiece. Next to the cabinet was a door that led to that side of the house.

In the other half of the room, where they were sitting, there was a fireplace, the couch that he and Judy were sitting on, a large coffee table and three easy chairs. There was a Persian style rug on the floor. On one side of the fireplace was a built-in bookcase with books, photos and a few knickknacks, while on the other side there was door leading off to the other side of the house.

The front of the room had large French windows leading onto the verandah they had crossed walking up to the front door. He could see the trees and some shrubs in the garden.

Gloria came back with a large tray, three cups, milk, sugar and a plate of odd-looking biscuits.

"How do you like your tea, Judy?"

"A little milk and one spoon of sugar, please."

"And what about you, Pete?"

"A little milk, please," he whispered.

She poured the tea, added milk and sugar as requested.

"Try one of these, Pete. They're what the Americans call chocolate chip cookies. I just made them so they are still warm."

He took a napkin and very careful placed one cookie on it. He took a small nibble from edge. It was delicious: warm, moist, a little chewy, and filled with little bits of chocolate were still half melted.

"Do you like them?"

Pete gave the smallest of smiles and nodded.

"You better eat them quickly. When Simon gets home he'll eat anything that's left. He should be here in a few minutes. He has some cricket practice or something. He's looking forward to meeting you! I hope he won't be late, he has no sense of time."

Pete gave a little nod, and continued nibbling on his cookie.

When he finished, he leaned over to Judy and whispered in her ear.

"Well, I think so," said Judy, "but why don't you ask Mrs. Barnes. It's her house, not mine."

Pete looked very nervous. Gloria felt sorry for him. He wasn't particularly big, maybe the same size as Simon or a little bigger, but totally the opposite to look at. He had black hair cut pretty short, deep black eyes, a sort of almond shaped-face, small lips and a little bit of a snub nose. He was clearly wearing his Sunday best, a white short-sleeved shirt, black trousers, grey socks, and somewhat scuffed black shoes. She could see his clothes were a little worn at the edges, but everything was clean and tidy. She thought he looked quite cute, and with a little time and effort spent on clothes and a better haircut he would be quite attractive.

Pete looked very nervously at Judy. She nodded, so he turned to Gloria and spoke in his very soft and quiet voice.

"Ummmm, would it be alright if I looked around a little bit, Mrs. Barnes?"

"Of course it would. Make yourself at home."

Pete stood up, put his cup and napkin back on the coffee table and started moving around the room. He went first to the French windows and looked out. He could see the top of some hills in the distance over the hedge that ran along the side of the road. Then he moved towards the fireplace, and started examining the contents of the bookcase.

Pete looked at one of the photos. It showed a boy who looked about the same age as Pete standing by a swimming pool in just pair of swimming trunks. He had unruly, long blond hair plastered down by water, and small face with a few freckles across his nose. His eyes seemed light blue or almost grey as he squinted into the camera. He had no fat on him whatsoever. The boy was almost skinny, but you could see he had some muscles starting, making him look a little wiry.

Pete pointed at the photo, looked at Gloria, and raised his eyebrows.

"That's Simon, taken about two months ago!"

Pete looked back at the photo and thought to himself that this looked like a boy he could be friends with. He didn't look like those big rugger players who always picked on smaller boys like him.

He looked at another photo. This was much older. It showed a rather younger Gloria standing next to a man who was rather taller that her, and a small version of Simon between them.

Again, he pointed to the photo and turned to Gloria.

"Yes, that's my late husband, taken when Simon was about eight. He died a couple of years after that."

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Barnes, that's sad" Pete whispered.

"Yes, we both miss him, but that's the way life is sometimes. You haven't had much luck yourself, have you, what with your parents dying in that terrible house fire."

Pete looked at her and shrugged. "That's the way it is'" he whispered.

Then Pete moved towards the kitchen and poked his head in.

"Oh, do excuse the mess," sad Gloria, "I didn't finish clearing up before you came!"

"It's nice in here," whispered Pete.

The kitchen had a big window looking out over the back garden, with table set in front of the window so you could eat and admire the back garden at the same time. It was light and sunny in the room, and Pete immediately sensed this was the heart of the house. On one side were the normal kitchen things: cooker, microwave, sink and counter tops with cupboards above and below. On the other side there was a large refrigerator and a little bookshelf with cookbooks and recipe boxes.

The refrigerator was covered in photos and other stuff. Some of it was clearly Simon's artwork from school, and there were lots of photos of Simon in different sports outfits or at the pool, all mixed up with school notices, lists of names and phone numbers, magnet souvenirs from Bloemfontein and Johannesburg, and all the other stuff people decorate their fridges with.

Through the window he could see some sports equipment lying around on the lawn. There was a cricket bat, a hockey stick, two Frisbees and other assorted bits and pieces. There were flowerbeds on either side, and a couple of fruit trees towards the end of the garden. Above the hedge at the end loomed a steep, flat-topped hill.

"Simon likes it out there. He spends a lot of time outside, he doesn't like being inside too much."

Pete just nodded. He knew that he also liked to be outside as much as possible.

"Oh, I think I heard Simon come in on his bike! Let's go say hello to him!"

Pete and Gloria went back into the living room, and at the same time the front door crashed open and the blond haired boy raced in. He was in a white polo shirt and white cotton shorts. His clothes were sweaty and covered in dirt and grass stains. His hair was also sweaty, with blond streaks pasted on his forehead and dripping at the back.

"Oh, hello everyone, oh look, chocolate chips cookies, I'm starving, let's see…."

"Simon, no touching the cookies! You're all sweaty! Go and take a quick shower and put on some clean clothes and then come and meet our guests properly!"

"Yes, Mum!" and Simon ran through the living room, opened the door next to the fireplace and disappeared with the door slamming behind him. The room was suddenly very quiet again.

Pete was mesmerized. He stood there looking at the door trying to take in the vision that had just raced through the living room. He was so different to any of the other children he had met in other visits to potential foster parents that Pete was totally blown away. Simon had filled up the room with energy as if some fireball or a piece of the sun had passed through, leaving behind some form of glow that couldn't be extinguished. He couldn't wait for the boy to come back so he could see him again because he knew at that moment that this was someone he wanted to be friends with.

Gloria was laughing. "Now you've met Simon. He's full of energy, never stops running." She went into the kitchen and got a glass of juice for Simon.

The two adults and Pete sat down again and finished their tea.

"Simon has been so excited by the idea of having a new brother. He's been bouncing around like that for days knowing you were coming today. I hope he doesn't get overexcited and overwhelm you, Pete, but he's so full of energy and he just seems so happy all the time. He get's into a lot of trouble at school, not because he's naughty, he's not, but because he's always talking in class, and fidgeting when he should be sitting still. But the teachers all love him because it's not like he means to do anything wrong, and he always manages to make people laugh. I really hope you'll like him because he needs someone to keep him company at home. He's not lonely, but I'm away at work quite a bit and so when I'm home or he has friends over, he get's a little hyperactive and wants lot of attention."

Pete absorbed all this information but didn't say anything. Not long after, Simon came tearing back into the room, slightly more slowly than when he left.

"Simon, say hello to Mrs. Thomas and Pete, and then you can have a cookie, OK?"

Simon skipped over to Judy, stuck out his hand, gave it the quickest of handshakes, said hello very politely, and then he turned around and his eyes fixed on Pete. He help out his hand, and Pete gingerly took it, and immediately felt a wave of energy or electricity pass between them.

"Hello, Pete! You're going to be my new brother! That's wonderful, I'm so happy you're here! We're going to have a great time together! Now, we don't want to have to sit here with these old fogies so let's grab the cookies and go into my room and let them yak away by themselves!"

And Simon grabbed his juice in one hand and the plate of cookies in the other and rushed back to the door. "Come on, Pete, don't waste time!"

Judy looked at Pete. "Go on, don't be shy!" And Pete stood up, walked through the open door, closing it carefully behind him as he went towards Simon's room.

Chapter 2

The two adults looked as the boys disappeared and closed the door behind them.

"Phew, your boy is certainly active and excited!"

"Yes, I know, Judy. But perhaps todays he's more excited than normal. When I told him about the idea of having a brother, he didn't hesitate. Straightway he told me it was a great idea, he'd love having someone else around to play with, and he hasn't changed his mind a bit. He's been really excited to meet Pete. I really hope the two of them get on together!"

"Well, judging by what I've seen, they seem well suited. I've never seen Pete take to someone so quickly like that. Normally he sits next to me and doesn't say anything at all, I mean nothing, and that makes it very difficult. Potential foster parents don't really want a small, introverted boy who won't come out of his shell."

"Simon has this ability to charm everyone he meets if he puts his mind to it. And I think he is going to use all of his powers of persuasion to get Pete to like him. Let's hope so!"

"OK, Gloria, let's leave them alone for a while and see what happens. Meanwhile, I need to tell you a bit more about Pete as we didn't get into much detail on the phone."

So Judy described how Pete had survived a house fire in which both his parents had been killed when the roof collapsed. Pete had survived because he was sleeping at the other end of the house, and woke up as soon as the roof caved in on top of his parents. He was hit on the back by falling debris that had left with him with some nasty cuts and bruises, but he had healed well and there was no lasting damage. There did not seem any other physical injuries, although Pete had complained his back hurt him a little bit at times.

Pete had been in temporary care for nearly two months. He'd missed some of the last part of the previous school year while he recovered, but Judy was very keen to get him into a home and then school before the start of the new school year. That was only two or three weeks away. At his previous school he had had good grades, so there was no need to make him take the year again if it could be avoided. Pete was reported good in Afrikaans and moderate in English, but Gloria said that Riverdale High School was bilingual and he wouldn't have too much problem. She also added that Simon could get by in Afrikaans, although he was primarily an English speaker, and they spoke English as home.

"I think that if Pete comes here," said Gloria, "Simon will be a great help to him in making new friends and forgetting what happened to him. Simon is well liked in school, he has a lot of friends, and he really sticks up for them. He's had to be disciplined a couple of times for picking fights with older boys who were bothering his friends. But I have to confess I worry that Simon's going to steamroller all over him. Simon's vey competitive and a little bossy when he's playing with his friends, whether it's sports or videogames, he always wants to win and that's sometimes led to some tiffs between him and his friends. I mean, they get over it, of course, but it does make life a little difficult at times. So I really hope he doesn't intimidate Pete."

Judy smiled. "Yes, Pete does need a friend who sticks up for him, particularly in the first month or two as he makes the transition into a new family. If Simon does help Pete out and gives him time and space to settle in, then that would be very helpful for Pete because he doesn't always stick up for himself, and he can be awfully quiet at times. But let me warn you, if the two of them click, they could become a formidable couple!"

"Well, Judy, I've liked what I saw of Pete so far, not that it's very much. I have this feeling that the two of them will hit it off this afternoon, Simon's really good that way. He had a habit of taking in strays, whether they're humans or animals, and looking after them until things are OK. So I really hope they hit it off today because that's that's the first big hurdle out of the way. One thing I really like about Pete is that he doesn't seem so hyperactive as Simon; having two boys like that might be the death of me! So, fingers crossed, right!"

The two women started chatting about other things, mostly just passing time until Judy felt that the two boys had had sufficient time to get to know each other a bit.

"Gloria, we're going to have to go soon so I can get him back to his temporary parents before it get's too late. Shall we get them?"

Gloria stood up, went to the door leading to Simon's room, and called the boys to come into the living room. "Simon, Pete, it's time to go! Come on, please, don't let's keep Mrs. Thomas waiting!"

Meanwhile, the boys were having a great time. When Pete went through door he found himself in a short corridor with a door on either side at the far end. Simon had crashed through the left hand door, so Pete followed. Inside was a typical teenage room. Simon's clothes that he'd been wearing strewn on the floor, there was another pile of dirty clothes against one wall, a single bed that had all sorts of stuff on it, including a school blazer and white cotton shirt and a school tie, there were several pairs of shoes scattered around, a desk covered in paper and pencils and school books, a small table and chair with a computer and a Playstation console, a cupboard with the doors open stuffed with toys and games on one side and clothes on the other.

"This is my room. It's great, isn't it! I mean it's not very tidy but I like it like this. Mum's always nagging me to tidy it up but I don't. And then here's the bathroom and you can go straight through the other door into your room, and it's neat because now we'll have this half of the house to ourselves and nobody'll come and bother us, and we'll be able to play lots of games and stuff. I can't wait! Come and look at your room!"

So they went through the bathroom, which had a large sink with cupboards below, a closet for towels and other supplies, a large walk-in shower, and a floor tiled in natural stone. Simon rushed through the other door. "Here, it's all yours!"

Pete looked around. It was the mirror image of Simon's room, with a single bed, a desk and table and cupboard, and more bits and pieces of Simon's stuff. There was a half-finished jigsaw on the table, and on the floor an electric racetrack with two cars on it.

"So, what do you want to do first?" asked Simon. "Do you want to try the racing cars, or we can play a video game on the Playstation or we can find a board game or maybe we can play some card games! It's super to have you here, we're going to have so much fun together. I know, let's do some car racing first!"

Pete was feeling a little overwhelmed, but he didn't feel threatened at all. Simon was so enthusiastic and so cheerful it was fun to be around him. "OK, let's try that, but I've never done this before!"

"Wait!" yelled Simon, "you can't play like this, stay right here, I'll be back!" He ran back through the bathroom, grabbed a clean pair of white shorts and a teeshirt, ran back in, and gave them to Pete, who look rather bewildered and a little nervous. "You can't play in those clothes! They're your Sunday clothes, aren't they? So we're pretty much the same size, so put these on and you'll be much more comfortable! Don't be shy, you can change right here, I mean we all take showers together at school, and you don't need to make your underwear off anyway."

Pete bit the bullet, he unbuttoned his shirt, put on the tee shirt, stood up, turned round and took of his shoes and socks and long trousers and pulled on the shorts. They fitted pretty well, a little tight because Pete was slightly bigger than Simon, but he certainly felt a lot more comfortable.

"Nice underwear!" laughed Simon. "Now here's your controller and you push this lever forward to make the car go faster and when you let it go the car slows down and you need to do that before the sharp corners or the car flies off and then you lose!"

And that was the start of a hectic and fun-filled hour or so, with the two boys enjoying themselves, playing games, and gradually getting to know each other.

The boys were lying next to each other playing a videogame on the Playstation when they heard the call through the door. "Simon, Pete, it's time to go! Come on, please, don't let's keep Mrs. Thomas waiting!".

"Coming, just a moment, we're finishing this game."

Simon stopped playing, looked at Pete with sadness in his eyes. "I don't want you to go," he said "Why can't you stay the rest of the weekend, I'm sure they'll let us, and then we can do all sorts of things together. I mean, we're just getting to know each other, and I know we're going to be good friends, and it would be a shame if you had to go."

"I'd love that, Simon, but I don't think Mrs. Thomas would let me, and maybe your mum will be busy and won't want a house guest."

"Don't be silly," said Simon, "we'll just tell them we've decided you're going to stay and they're bound to agree, Mum will be perfectly happy to have you, and then Mrs. Thomas can bring your stuff when she comes back on Monday and you can go on staying here with me. Come on, let's go tell them!"

When they came in through the door Gloria and Judy were startled. Pete was now dressed in a tee shirt and some white shorts and had bare feet. He looked much more relaxed, and much more like a teenager than a small grownup.

"Where are your clothes, Pete? We've got to get going?" asked Judy.

Simon charged ahead with his plan. "We decided that Pete shouldn't get his Sunday clothes crinkled while we were playing games. So I hung it up in the closet and lent him some of my clothes. We're almost the same size so it's great, isn't it!"

"Whatever, Simon," said Judy, " but, Pete, you'll have to go get changed because we've to go back."

"No!" said Simon, and then before anyone could interrupt he got into full stream. "He isn't going back. We've decided that he's going to stay the weekend so we can get to know each other better. I mean we're doing fine now, but we need more time. And we've got so many things we've got to do. He has to learn to ride a bike because he can't ride one, and he's not going to be able to walk to school, and then I need to show him the kittens and puppies at the Vet's office, and I want him to try and play golf, and he likes walking so we can go up Riverdale Rock and see the view, and he's never been to the cinema so we can go and watch a film, and I want to show him the High School so he knows where to go, and he wants to try some Indian food because he's never had that, and we can go swimming, and he's going to be on my cricket team, and ……"

"Simon, enough!" Gloria was used to the stream of consciousness that was typical of Simon. Once he got going it was hard to stop him. "Who said anything about Peter staying the weekend? Mrs. Thomas and I have a lot more things to sort out before any decisions are made."

"But I already decided. He's going to stay the weekend. Just because you adults can't make up your minds quickly about anything. So this is how its going to work….."

"Simon, I said quiet!"

"But I think it's a great idea…."

Yes, but….."

"No, Mum, listen. All you grownups ever do is say 'no' or 'yes, but' and we all know that 'yes, but' is a polite adult way of saying 'no' and why can't you say something like 'Oh, what a great idea, Simon, let's think about and see if we can work something out' instead of just saying 'no'!"

Judy thought Gloria needed a helping hand. "That's all very well, Simon, but he doesn't have any clothes or things with him!"

"You grownups are all the same! He doesn't need anything! He can wear my clothes, he can use my soap and shampoo and stuff, and I'm sure we've got a spare toothbrush, and we've got heaps of sheets and towels and all those things. So there's no problem!"

"Simon, enough is enough," said Gloria, rather curtly. "Take Pete back to your room and let him get changed into his own clothes! Now!"

Simon just glared at his mother. You could see daggers flying in her direction. He was just about to explode when a small voice broke the silence.

"Could I say something, please, Mrs. Barnes?"

Gloria looked at Pete and nodded. "I'm sorry, Pete, we should have let you speak."

"That's OK, Mrs. Barnes. Simon is very excited and maybe not as careful in saying what we wanted to say. You see, Simon and me talked about me staying the weekend. We both want that. I mean, an hour isn't enough time for us to get to be proper friends, but we both like each other a lot. So we agreed to ask you if I could stay longer.

"Mrs. Barnes, you've been very kind to me so far, and I really appreciate that. Other foster parents weren't so welcoming. I really like your house, it feels very comfortable and friendly, and really nice to me. And if the rest of your cooking is like the cookies, that would be fantastic.

"But the most important thing is this, Mrs. Barnes. It's not about me and Simon getting to know each other, and doing all sorts of things together. I mean that'll be fun, even though we couldn't possibly do everything Simon talked about in just a couple of days. What's really much more important, Mrs. Barnes, is that you and me like each other, right? I mean, if you find out you don't like me, or I find out I don't like it here then we'd save everyone a lot of problems, wouldn't we? I mean, you and me hardly know each other, and a weekend would be a good way of us all learning more about each other. And I'm absolutely certain that we will get on because the little I've seen of you I really like you. And then when we're sure we like each other, when Mrs. Thomas comes Monday we could all sit and discuss whether it was going to work or not. That's all I have to say. Thank you for listening."

There was a stunned silence.

Judy Thomas was amazed. This small, quiet, shy and retiring boy had just said more than she'd heard him say in the past two months put together. She had listened to everything Pete said with astonishment, because he had come up with a more or less waterproof proposal that would be very hard for Mrs. Barnes to reject. She knew right there and then that Pete was going to end up living in this house, and there was nothing that anyone could do to stop it.

Simon was amazed as well. And for almost the only time in his life, he kept his mouth shut because he sensed this was a turning point, and it was clever of Pete to say it was about Pete and his Mum, and not about him and Pete, and he knew Pete had said exactly the right thing. So even though he didn't say anything, inside he was screaming with joy because he knew Pete and he were going to be brothers and the best of friends and that they would be wonderful team.

Gloria almost started crying. She could see the two contrasting boys standing in front of her, one dark and quiet and introverted and thoughtful, the other blond and exuberant, and full of energy. And she could sense that there was some chemistry or yin and yang that made the two of them much more than the sum of their individual parts. And she was bursting with happiness inside because this was what she had dreamed of when she first thought about fostering a boy to live with her and Simon. She knew then and there that she had found a second son, and she started to fall in love with him right then and there.

"Pete, I owe you a huge apology. You're right, and I was wrong." Gloria gave big sniff. "So, let me ask you this. Pete, would you like to stay for the weekend and get to know Simon and myself? Then, on Monday, Mrs. Thomas can come back and we'll make a final decision."

Pete looked at her, and his eyes started to fill with tears as he gave a huge smile and nodded. He'd never been happier in his whole life.

Gloria grinned back, stood up and opened her arms. "Now, Pete, come here!"

And Pete came over and they hugged each other for a long time, and Gloria started crying, and Pete started sniffling, and then Simon joined in so they had a group hug shouting "YES!, YES!, YES!"

Chapter 3

Pete woke up early on Saturday morning like he always did. As soon as his eyes opened he was wide awake. He felt disoriented because he didn't recognize where he was. There was a moment if panic until his eyes adjusted a bit, and he could see some things in the dark. Then he realized that he was in the bedroom in Simon's house that he hoped and prayed was going to become his own room.

Technically he was just visiting for the weekend, but in his heart he knew that he was going to stay here. Gloria had more or less said that the night before when she made sure he was comfortable in 'his new room'. They'd had a nice evening together, and Gloria had made spaghetti and meat sauce and salad, and then they had some cake that Gloria had baked earlier, together with ice cream. Simon had eaten a huge amount, claiming he was a growing boy, while Pete ate more than he normally did because it was all so delicious.

After dinner Gloria made sure Pete had enough clothes of Simon's to last the weekend, and put them in the cupboard, saying it was nice to have it being use properly for once, and she got out towels and some soap and a toothbrush. Gloria explained that she had to work the next day and would leave for work about seven fifteen. She'd said she'd make herself some toast and leave everything out for Pete to help himself, but not to expect Simon because he always slept in. And she showed him where he could find stuff that he and Simon could have for lunch.

Pete took a shower and put on a pair of pajama shorts and a pajama top, and then he and Simon played a card game until Simon decided he was tired and got into bed and was asleep in seconds. Pete later learned this was the way Simon always was, he'd use up all his energy during the day, and then it as like he'd switch off and go to sleep almost immediately. Pete went into his own room, got into bed and in a few minutes he too was fast asleep.

When he woke up, Pete looked at his watch, which said six thirty. For a while he lay there just thinking about the enormity of what had happened yesterday. From the moment he and Judy had come into the house on Jacaranda Street he just knew it was going to be all right. The house had a wonderful comfortable feeling about it, and Mrs. Barnes was very friendly and treated him with kindness and respect. He knew he would grow to like her and love her as a second mother.

And then there was Simon. Pete couldn't get the vision of Simon out of his mind, all that light and energy and enthusiasm and the instantaneous friendship he offered Pete. It was like they'd known each other forever. There was something between them that he couldn't quite sort out in his own mind, but he knew he didn't want to have to say goodbye to him on Monday morning. He wanted to stay forever because he already felt something more than friendship between them.

Pete was not one for lying in bed in the morning. He really had to pee, and then he thought he'd like some tea. Having tea first thing in the morning was something he was used to, and it helped start him going for whatever the day had to offer.

So he slipped out of bed, ignoring the stiffness of his cock, and went into the bathroom he shared with Simon. As quietly as possible he peed, flushed the toilet, splashed some cold water on his face, and went back to dress. He put on some clean underwear, a pair of khaki shorts, and a white tee shirt. It felt a little naughty wearing Simon's underwear, and secretly it excited him a bit and his cock began to swell up again, but decided that could wait until tonight.

He then went as quietly as possible into the kitchen, filled the kettle, plugged it in, found the tea in the cupboard, got the milk out of the fridge, and sat at the little table looking out of the window. It was just getting light outside, and he could see the hills through the gaps in the eucalyptus trees that he now knew were part of the golf course.

The kettle boiled, he made tea, and got a cup out of the cupboard. Then he remembered Gloria had said she had to leave about seven fifteen for work, so he got another cup from the cupboard, found the bread box, put a couple of slices in the toaster, got out the butter, and a choice of raspberry jam and marmalade because he didn't know what she preferred. He even crept out into the garden and picked a couple of flowers and put them in a glass of water and set them down in front of Mrs. Barnes' placemat.

He was sitting looking out of the window sipping his tea when he heard a noise behind him. "My God, I must be having a dream!"

He turned around and there was Gloria, dressed in her nurses' uniform looking very smart and professional.

"Good morning, Mrs. Barnes, how are you today?"

"My eyes tell me there's a boy at the kitchen table who has not only made himself his own breakfast, but has made me mine as well. This can't be true."

"I take it Simon doesn't do this!"

"He never lifts a finger to help. It's bad enough getting him out of bed, let alone expecting him to do anything."

"Well, I thought seeing you had to work, it would be nice if I had breakfast made for you."

"I have not had breakfast made for me since goodness knows when! Thank you, Pete, you are a keeper!"

Pete gave a smile. He was getting better at that since he came to Riverdale.

Gloria sat down, drank some tea, ate a couple of slices of toast, and looked hard at Pete.

"There's two things you have to do this morning, Pete. OK?"

Pete nodded.

"Good, first, you can't go on calling me Mrs. Barnes. Do you think you could call me Gloria?"

"I'll try. I mean, I'm not used to calling adults by their Christian names, but I think it would be nice to try to call you Gloria. What's the second thing?"

"Well now, you have a really hard task ahead of you, Pete. I hope you're up to it!"

"What's that?"

"You have to wake up Simon and get him on the golf course by eight. That's his Saturday morning job, and if he's late he may get fired. Just joking, but he needs to learn to be punctual."

"Simon is a heavy sleeper?"

"He runs flat out all day long, then he crashes and wouldn't wake up if a small herd of elephants walked through his room."

"Yes, he did suddenly crash out last night. One moment he was talking, next he was fast asleep."

"That's Simon!"

Gloria got up, found her handbag, got out the car keys, walked over and gave Pete a big kiss on his forehead.

"I better be off. I'll be home by about four, I hope. Have a wonderful day!"

"Thanks, Mrs. Barnes, ummm, Gloria, you too!" Pete gave her another smile, a little bit bigger than the last.

Pete cleared the breakfast table, not knowing what Simon wanted for breakfast, and decided to take on the task of waking him up.

He went up to Simon's door and knocked. No answer. He tried again, a bit louder. Still no answer. So he gently opened the door. Simon was fast asleep, flat on his back, hair all messed up, mouth slightly open and drooling a small amount. Pete thought he looked beautiful and peaceful, so it seemed a shame to have to wake him up. Pete would have liked just to sit and watch him.

"Simon, wake up!"

There was no response.

"Simon, wake up!" Louder this time, but still no response.

So Pete walked to the bed, took one of Simon's shoulders and started shaking him. Simon gave a small moan, and turned on to one side. Pete kept shaking.

"Time to get up, sleepyhead!"

"Mwahhhhh, what?"

"Simon, you have to get up!"

"Don't want too!"

Pete took the sheet that had been covering half of his chest and pulled it straight off. He gazed at Simon's tight, slim and wiry body and felt his throat go a little dry. Simon was only wearing his pajama shorts, and there was a definite bulge where something was poking upwards.

"Come on, Simon, time to go to work!"

An eye opened and looked blearily at Pete. Suddenly Simon sat straight up, and his huge trademark grin split his face.

"Pete, oh, it's wonderful to see you. I thought yesterday was just a dream but you're still here!"

Simon was back up to speed. He jumped out of bed, and without warning threw himself at Pete who grabbed him so they ended up in a giant hug.

"Oh, Pete, this is the best way to wake up! You have to do this every morning! If I see you first thing before anything else I know it's going to be a good day! I still can't believe it's all true!"

Then Simon looked down, and felt a little embarrassed as he was poking Pete with his hard cock.

"Whoops! I think I need to pee badly!"

He rushed into the bathroom, and didn't bother to close the door. While he was peeing, Pete called out to him.

"What do you want for breakfast, Simon?"

"Juice, cereal with lots of sugar, milk."

"OK, I'll get it ready!"

Pete went back into the kitchen, got a glass of juice, found a bowl, filled it with cereal, poured in some milk, found the sugar and a spoon and waited.

Simon came in, dressed in a nice white polo shirt with a logo on the pocket and khaki shorts, added a whole heap of sugar to the cereal and started eating. Well, eating isn't really the right word because Simon seemed to just vacuum up everything with his mouth right next to the bowl, and the spoon stuffing in cereal as fast as possible. Pete sat there amazed.

As soon as he had finished, Simon drained his glass of juice, leaned back and gave a mighty belch.

"Thanks, Pete! Add that to your list of morning chores. First you have to get me out of bed, then you have to feed me. I'll find other jobs for you later!"

Pete just laughed, picked up the dirty dishes, put them in the sink, rinsed them, and turned to Simon.

"So you think I can come with you to the golf course?"

"Of course, you can, stupid! You think I'm going there without you. You're my new brother and we have to stick together!"

Pete felt a glow of happiness run through him.

"OK, lead the way!"

Simon shut the front door behind them, locked it, and they walked down to the end of the road, turned left, then left again, and went in to the entrance of the golf club.

"Good morning, Simon, my goodness, you're early! What happened? And who is this?"

"Good morning, Mr. Coetzee! This is my brother, Pete!"

"Brother? You don't have a brother!"

"Well, he's my foster brother and since yesterday he's come to live with me. So I thought I'd show him round."

"OK, no problem! Welcome, Pete, I hope you've got a lot of patience trying to keep up with this little monster here called Simon!"

Pete looked at Mr. Coetzee. He was dressed in his golf clothes, a blue polo shirt with a club logo, tan shorts, white socks, and golf shoes. He was stocky and had a little bit of a beer belly, but you could tell he was pretty fit.

"It's nice to meet you, Mr. Coetzee, I'll try not to get in the way!"

"Nah, no problem, just follow Simon, he knows what to do! Oh, do you play golf?"

"No, sir."

"Too bad, you have the right build for it if we can get some more muscles on you! But when Simon practices later on in the week, maybe he'll let you have a bash."

"Thank you, sir, that's very kind of you."

Simon's job really wasn't too hard. He had to unplug the golf carts from the charging station, drive them to the parking lot, line them up, make sure they all had scorecards and pencils in the front pocket, make sure the keys were ready, and that the carts were clean inside. Then he had to fill up little plastic buckets with balls so members could take them out to the practice area. Pete learned how to drive a golf cart, so that speeded things up, and the whole thing took about an hour, and then they were free. In return, at a later time in the week, Simon got to take a couple of buckets of balls and practice free of charge, but he wasn't allowed to do that at the weekends, because it was too busy.

Simon took him on a tour of the club, which was still pretty much empty. There was a big bar, a dining area with a basic menu of burgers, steaks, barbecue ribs, sausage, because South Africans like meat and lots of it, and an outside terrace with comfortable wicker chairs that overlooked the first tee and the eighteenth green. Then Simon showed him the locker room, and finally took him through the pro shop where they looked at shirts and clubs and everything.

Mr. Coetzee was checking in a couple of players. After he finished he came over.

"Did you have fun helping Simon here, Pete? You seemed to get the job done pretty quickly!"

"Yes, sir, it was interesting and I liked driving the golf carts!"

"Well, I'm glad you weren't bored. So, do you think that you'll be helping Simon on a regular basis?"

"Yes, I hope so, sir!"

"Excellent. So we'll have to give you a proper shirt to wear to make you look official."

"No, you don't have to do that, sir!"

"Yes, I do, because I like everyone who works here to look properly dressed and be smart. It gives the Club a more professional feel to it, and when we get visitors from other clubs it helps them know who's a worker and who's a member."

He picked up a white golf shirt, exactly the same design as the one Simon was wearing, checked the size, and gave it to Pete.

"Welcome to Riverdale! I hope you'll be very happy here!"

Pete felt himself tearing up a little.

"Wow, thank you so much, Mr. Coetzee, that's really super of you!"

"Any friend of Simon's is a friend of mine! Now, go off and enjoy the rest of the weekend!"

The boys walked back to Jacaranda Street.

"So what next?" said Simon. "We mustn't waste time, there's too much to do! I know! You need to learn how to ride a bike, then we can go everywhere really fast!"

Simon tore off his golf shirt, ran into his room, and came back a moment later stuffing his arms into the holes of a tee shirt. Pete enjoyed the show of a slim teenage boy with no body fat but developing some muscles stripping off his shirt. Too bad he had to put on another shirt.

They went round the side of the house into the garage. Simon had a mountain bike with a godzillion gears. It was a bit scratched up but looked in good shape.

"Let me get it into a good gear for you, and then we'll go in the park across the street. There's lots of space so you won't hit anything and there are no cars!"

Simon wheeled the bike across the street, swung his leg over the saddle and pedaled around changing gears until he thought it was right for a learner.

"OK, here you are Pete!"

Simon slipped off the bike and handed it to Pete.

"What we'll do is this. You get on the bike, I'll hold it upright, and then you can pedal and I'll run behind you holding the back of the saddle so you don't fall off. The gears are set low, so you won't go fast. Don't worry if you fall off, you won't hurt the grass!"

Pete swung his leg over and sat on the saddle. Because he was just a little bit taller than Simon he could rest his feet on the ground without too much trouble.

"OK, these are the brakes. Just squeeze the levers like this, and the bike'll stop. But don't brake too hard or you'll fall off. Use the right brake first then the left, otherwise you may go straight over the handlebars. Don't grip the handlebars too tightly. You need to be relaxed."

Pete was not at all sure about all of this, and he certainly didn't feel relaxed. But he felt he had to go through with it because he didn't want to lose face with Simon, and it seemed like riding a bike was something all boys did and he didn't want to feel out of place when he met Simon's friends.

"OK, feet on the pedals, and push!"

Pete wobbled off. Simon ran behind holding the saddle. The first run lasted about twenty five feet then the wobble won, and Pete and the bike hit the ground.

"Oh My God, Pete! Are you OK?" yelled Simon, eyes wide open.

Pete laughed. "I'm fine! Nothing broken! Yet!"

They tried again. This time they got about fifty feet, and Simon had let go because Pete got up to speed. He actually went about half the distance without any assistance from Simon. Simon shouted as Pete picked himself up again.

After about half an hour Pete said he had had enough for one day. He had a slight graze on one knee, and another on an elbow. But he felt good because he had actually managed at least a hundred yards on the last try. Not very straight, but it was still something he was proud of. And he thought he was beginning to be able to make turns without too much danger.

"OK, Simon, I'm calling it a day! I'll do some more tomorrow when I've got my strength back!"

"Pete, you were great! You did better than me when I first tried! But of course I was only five, not fourteen!"

Pete pretended to swat him, and they walked back to the house. It was lunchtime.

Lunch was another demonstration of how a teenage boy can consume huge quantities of food without taking a single breath. Simon showed Pete where all the lunch stuff was so they could make sandwiches. Bread, butter, pickles, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, potato crisps were all stacked together, and then cut into neat halves, They each got a glass of milk.

Pete took a small bite out of one side of his half sandwich. On the other side of the table Simon looked like he was trying to stuff the entire half of his sandwich into his mouth.

"Mmmmmmm! Yummy!" Simon said, mouth full of sandwich.

Pete laughed, and shook his head. "I can't believe your mother really let's you eat like that!"

"No, Mum doesn't like it, but I do it at school because the other kids think it's funny, well, the other boys do but the girls think it's gross. But that's part of our job as boys is to gross the girls out. And I don't like any of the girls very much so I don't care if they don't like it." Simon said, eyeing the second half of his sandwich. Pete had hardly finished his first mouthful.

"Do you have a girlfriend, Simon?"

"Nah, girls are stupid. All my friends are boys, they're much more fun!"

After lunch they walked around Riverdale for a while. Simon showed him the main part of town, a few streets with several stores and offices, a hotel, a couple of banks, a gas station, a small strip mall and several agricultural suppliers and dealerships. Several people said hello to Simon, or waved to him across the street. Finally they walked past the doctor's office where Gloria worked. The whole town seemed quite prosperous to Pete, tidy, clean and well organized.

By the time they got home Gloria had come back from work.

"Pete, how are you holding up! Has Simon exhausted you yet?"

"Almost, but I'm still standing!"

Simon then went into a long and breathless explanation of everything they had done so far. Gloria listened with a smile of her face. She had not seen Simon quite so animated for a long time, and it was clear that he was thrilled to have Pete as part of his life.

"Are we going to take Pete to the Indian place for dinner, Mum? I mean he said he'd never eaten Indian food before and he say's he wants to try it, so why don't we do that? Or we could go to the Chinese place because they have that all you can eat special!"

"No, not today. I think Pete's had enough excitement for one day. I bought some steaks on the way home so we can have a brai. Is that OK. Pete?"

"Yes, Mum, that's great! Yum!" The eating machine had a big grin on his face.

"Simon, I wasn't asking you, I was asking Pete. Simon, your room is a pigsty. I want it cleaned up before dinner please, and make sure you have all your clothes ready for church tomorrow. And take a shower, please, you smell like a dead warthog!"

Pete laughed. It was true! "After Simon showers and when he's cleaning his room, then I'll help you to get dinner ready."

Gloria pretended to faint. "No, it's not true! A boy offering to help? And twice in one day! What is this world coming to? Of course, go and shower, Pete, you may not smell like a dead warthog but you're not much better!"

Pete smiled. This was what it was like to have a family!

After his shower, where he managed to clean up his scrapes pretty well, Pete wandered into the kitchen.

"What can I do to help, Gloria?"

"I still don't believe this," Gloria said, pretending to pinch herself. "I must be dreaming!"

"I can't live here and not help. After all, you worked all day!"

Gloria walked over and kissed him on the forehead.

"You are the best ever! Let me put some antiseptic cream on your scrapes, and then I'll give you something to do."

He was given some tasks, including getting the barbecue up and running. That wasn't too hard as they were using a gas barbecue rather than the large charcoal one. They made a green salad together, and Gloria found some old potatoes and made a potato salad. He set the table in the kitchen, and then sat down. Gloria said when Simon came they'd start the meat because it wouldn't take very long. They just sat and talked about Pete's first day in Riverdale.

Simon came crashing in. "Is dinner ready yet, I'm starving!"

"No. But now I'll start cooking the steaks!" She took the meat outside, put it on the barbecue, and then came in and sat down with the boys.

"What were you talking about? Were you talking about me behind my back?" demanded Simon.

"Yes." said Gloria. "I was telling Pete that I decided it was a mistake to have two boys. So I've decided to make a trade. Pete is so kind and helpful, and you are so lazy and good for nothing, so that on Monday when Mrs. Thomas comes, you're going back with her, and Pete will take your place!"

Simon nearly spit out the juice he was drinking, bursting out laughing.

"You wouldn't do that! You love me, I'm your son!"

"Well you've had a good fourteen years, and now it's Pete's turn! Sorry!"

"Mum, is the library open on Sundays?"

"No, I don't think so. Why? You hardly ever read anyway!"

"No, but I heard there is a bestselling book called 'How To Get Rid Of Your Really Evil Foster Brother'!"

They all burst out laughing. Gloria went out to check the steaks which were smelling delicious, and stayed outside continuing to count her blessings. A house full of three happy people. It was a dream come true.

Chapter 4

Sunday morning Pete woke up early, remembered it was Sunday and that Gloria didn't have to go to work, so he turned over and half dozed off for a while. He still couldn't believe how well things had gone over the past couple of days and he couldn't remember a time when he had been so happy. About an hour later he got out of bed and wandered into the kitchen, still in his pajamas.

"Good morning, handsome, do you feel up to going to church? Simon and I always go, but if you want to stay home I'll understand. I forgot to ask you yesterday"

"No, I'll come. I normally go to church, and anyway if I didn't go I bet you wouldn't get Simon out of the house!"

So after he's had some toast and a boiled egg that Gloria made him, he went back to his room, took a shower and put on his Sunday best clothes. Eventually Simon came in, looking a little uncomfortable in his best clothes. It was like he was wearing something that just didn't match with his normal easygoing carefree approach to life. After Simon had vacuumed up his cereal and milk, they all put on their shoes and went to church.

Pete was overwhelmed by the number of people who came up to Gloria and asked to be introduced to him. He began to recognize that Gloria was very well known and respected in the community, and that many people had known of her desire to foster someone. Everyone was friendly and welcoming.

Pete met several of Simon's friends at the church. It was clear that Simon was popular and so when Pete was introduced to all Simon's friends, he didn't get intimidated like he normally did. Some of them made plans to meet at the swimming pool the next day, and they invited Pete just like that. He felt like he had been in Riverdale for his whole life, not just the forty eight hours since he had first arrived.

Church and Simon were not well matched. Simon always found it hard to sit still, whether he was at home or school and anywhere else, but church was the worst. So he sat next to Pete and fidgeted and wriggled around and tried to get Pete to laugh, so in the end Gloria sat between them and told Simon to hush or he would get in big trouble.

The church service was much more relaxed than what Pete was used to. The sermon was about friendship and forgiveness, with none of the issues of sin and punishment he was more used to. By the end of it all, he felt that if people heeded the words of the sermon and were that kind, he'd really like living in Riverdale.

After the service they drove home and the two boys took no time at all in getting into more comfortable clothes. As normal, they were going to the Golf Club for lunch where they always had a Sunday lunch braai with lots of different grilled things and salads. Gloria had been a social member for a long time, which meant she could use the bar and restaurant without having to pay the higher fees for golfers, and this gave her the opportunity to meet friends either at Sunday lunch or for Happy Hour on Friday nights.

They sat on the terrace and Simon gave another fine performance of eating, going back twice to fill up his plate. Gloria had found it amazing he could eat so much and yet never put on any weight. Pete only managed to go back once, but he felt quite bloated after that.

Once again there were families with children, and again several of the teenagers came up to Simon, got introduced to Pete, and made him feel quite welcome. Once the three of them got home, they played a couple of games together, had a small supper, and all went to bed early.

Gloria had Monday off. She had arranged for Judy to come early in the day, leaving time for some chores she planned to do with Pete on the assumption that Pete was going to stay permanently. She was happy Pete had been invited to go swimming with Simon's friends later in the afternoon as that would help him assimilate into the community, and start to make friends in his own right.

Judy's visit was short. As soon as she arrived she saw the weekend had accomplished everything they all hoped for. She couldn't believe how easily Gloria, Simon and Pete had become not just friends, but a family. It was one of those occasions when she felt her job was completely worthwhile. It wasn't often that she saw a boy transformed so quickly as Pete. He was still much quieter than Simon, of course, that would never change, but he joined in the conversation on almost equal terms. Judy could see Gloria was just loving it, and listened very carefully whenever Pete spoke.

But absolutely the best thing of all was to see Pete smiling. He looked so happy and so much more alive than she had ever seen him before, and it was clear that he and Simon had become very close together over the last three days. She noticed the way they communicated just by looking at each other, how they were constantly touching each other and sharing private jokes together.

Judy had bought all the necessary paperwork with her in anticipation of a successful match, so in a short period of time she and Gloria had signed off on everything. Meanwhile Pete, with a nominal amount of help from Simon, actually more of a distraction than a help, had made some coffee for the adults. Simon's main contribution was to make sure the cake was still edible from Friday, and he took his role as chief cake tester very seriously because it required more than one piece to make sure.

Pete had a couple of places to sign on the forms, and suddenly it was all official: Pete Miller was now Gloria Barnes' foster son and Simon's foster brother. But the word 'foster' was never ever used, it was always 'son' and 'brother'.

As he signed the last form, Pete looked up at Judy and burst into tears. He couldn't stop crying, and it ended up as another group hug for all four of them. Every time Pete tried to speak, he started crying again, and as always happens, all four were in tears.

Eventually, Pete found his voice.

"Judy, I'll never be able to thank you enough. You've been patient with me, waiting to find the perfect match. I owe you everything. I'll never forget you."

And then he burst into tears again.

Eventually they all calmed down, and Judy said she needed a little time to explain about the financial consequences of Pete coming to live with the Barnes. She explained there had been a life insurance policy on both his parents, and that would provide a monthly payment to Gloria to help pay for Pete's living expenses. She said that there was also a provision in the way the money was kept in trust for Pete that any items he needed related to his education, such as school fees, a computer, a bike, uniforms, school supplies, and so on, would be paid for as long as permission was given in advance by the trustees, a bank in Bloemfontein.

"Wow, I didn't know you were rich, Pete," said Simon, "now we can buy all sorts of neat things like more computer games, and maybe a dirtbike, and a drone, and the newest Playstation, and I need a new cricket bat, and…..

"Quiet, Simon, it doesn't work like that," his mother said, "that money is for Pete so we can feed him and make sure he goes to school, not for fancy things you don't need. And anyway it's his money and not yours, and he can't spend it on other things until he's twenty one. So enough of your nonsense!"

Simon starting pouting. But they all knew Simon was the world's worst pouter because he couldn't keep a straight face for more that a few seconds. It only took one look from Pete, who stuck his tongue out, and Simon was giggling away. "Well, it was worth a try," he said.

Judy said that she'd get in touch with the bank in Bloemfontein and send them a copy of the official foster care arrangement, and they'd get in touch to arrange setting up a regular payment to Gloria. And she said that as soon as she got home, she'd get official copies of all the paperwork, and Pete's birth certificate, and his school records and send then to Gloria. Then it was time for Judy to say goodbye to all three, she gave Pete a special hug and kiss, and said she would see him in one month time for a routine follow-up visit.

As she drove off, Pete stood there waving, tears running down his cheeks and this huge big grin plastered across his face.

Simon tried hard to find a way to help them all move forward. "OK, Pete, now you are officially my brother. First thing you must do is clean my room for me. Then I'll find other tasks for you. Just be ready when I call!"

"In your dreams, I'm older than you, so I'll give the orders!"

"Ha, catch me if you can!" And Simon dashed out of the front door and ran into the park.

Pete ran round to the garage, grabbed Simon's bike, ran across the street with it and, rather carefully, rode into the park chasing after Simon. He didn't have a chance of catching him but he was still just learning but the boys were both laughing their heads off. Pete fell off a couple of times but it was clear he was getting his confidence up.

When two breathless boys got back into the house Gloria gave them both a big hug. "OK, you two, get ready, we're going shopping, unless you want to stay behind, Simon."

"No, no, I'm coming. You can't split us up now we're officially brothers. We're going to do everything together, aren't we, Pete? Mum, we're going to have to get him a bike of his own, aren't we?"

"Yes, there's a lot we have to get him, but I think we'll start with that. Pete needs to ride well enough by the time school starts that nobody will know he couldn't ride a bike before he came to Riverdale. And I need to buy him some new clothes, his old ones are getting too small for him."

"Mrs. Barnes, ummm, Gloria, don't you have to wait until you get the first money from my trust?" asked Pete. "I mean, you're not supposed to spend your own money on me!"

"OK, Pete," replied Gloria, "there's two things I need to say. The first is that you're now my son and I'll spend my money any way I want, and I'm happy to spend some now and not have to wait for some stupid bank to take its time. Understood?" Pete nodded. "The second is much more important, though. You can't call me Gloria or Mrs. Barnes any more, I'm your mother, so I want you to call me 'Mum', just like Simon. OK?"

Pete thought for a little while, and his eyes started watering again, and then he flung himself into Gloria's arms and looked up at her and said "Thanks, Mum, that's the bestest thing in the whole world, and I love you more than anything!"

Gloria kept hugging and hugging him and then she turned to her other son and said "Simon, we're going to be fun having a new son and brother, aren't we?"

"YES! Thanks, Mum, I love you!" Simon shouted as he started bouncing around the living room doing some form of tribal war dance.

Chapter 5

Over the next couple of weeks Pete became an integral part of life in the Barnes household, to the point where it was sometimes hard to forget he'd only just arrived. For the first few days Gloria had watched very carefully to make sure Simon didn't overwhelm her new and rather fragile son, but soon she realized that she had nothing to worry about.

Simon remained just as competitive with his friends when they were playing games and going swimming, but he was very careful not to act like that towards Pete. It wasn't that he was overprotective but he was very solicitous, so if he sensed Pete wasn't comfortable with other kids' rowdiness or joshing of each other or their harmless insults, he'd manage to step in and change the direction of things so Pete didn't get upset. This allowed Pete to find his own space and relationships with Simon's friends, and soon he was just part of the group and fully accepted and liked by everyone.

Gloria kept noticing that although the two boys were opposites, they always managed to complement each other. Simon was always the quickest to start things, he was far better than Pete at games that needed quick reactions so he almost always beat Pete at videogames and electric car racing. But he didn't rub it in and try to humiliate Pete just because he wasn't very good at those types of games. On the other hand, Pete almost always won games where speed was not a factor. He almost always won board games like Risk or Monopoly because he seemed to be able to work out a winning strategy whereas Simon would pile all his armies or hotels on one place on the board and hope for the quick and devastating kill. And when their friends came over and they played games, if Simon and Pete played as a team they were unbeatable because their skills complemented each other.

Pete did lots of things that Simon didn't have patience for. He read books so he got a Library card as soon as possible, while Simon preferred sports magazines with nice short articles. Pete liked to help in the kitchen and the garden, things Simon hated and would never be good at. And Pete was perfectly happy to sit and think about things, and plan ahead so that he wasn't caught out at the last moment.

The administrative side of things got sorted out so that Pete would be ready to start the new school year towards the end of January.

He had a medical exam from Gloria's boss in order to get the medical certificate the school required. Simon had wanted to stay with Pete while he had the exam but the doctor said he could stay only if he let him give him an extra injection in his backside, and brought out a giant syringe with a very large needle. Simon quickly decided to wait with his mother. After the exam was completed, he called Gloria and Simon back into his office.

"Gloria, I've got bad news for Pete, I'm afraid." said the doctor "He's so healthy he'll have to go to school after all! But the good news is that he isn't like Simon at all because I don't think Riverdale could cope with two Simons at the same time!"

The bank in Bloemfontein was quick to set up a monthly payment system, and also sent a check for 10,000 rand for initial expenses in getting Pete ready for school. Gloria thought it was far too much but if that was what the trust decided, then she just accepted it.

It was the monthly payment that led to Pete and Gloria having their first disagreement. Gloria thought that the monthly payment should go into a special savings account, and Pete could use it for any large items he wanted, and she'd just pay his living costs and his weekly allowance out of her own funds. Pete thought all of the monthly allowance should go straight to Gloria.

They discussed it for quite a while, neither side backing off, but eventually they came to a compromise. They would split the monthly payment 50:50 so that half would go into Pete's savings account, and half to Gloria, and she would give Pete the same weekly allowance that Simon had for spending on ice cream or snacks after school or going to the cinema with their friends. Pete accepted that arrangement because he realized he wanted his own money to get presents for Simon and Gloria on their birthdays and they wouldn't have to know how much he spent.

And they got Pete prepared for his new school. He went with Gloria and Simon to meet the Principal, find out his class schedule, and meet his new homeroom teacher. Simon tried very hard to get Pete into his homeroom, but it was done alphabetically so kids with last names beginning with B and M were not in the same homeroom.

Pete found the Principal very pleasant to deal with and very friendly. Just like the doctor, the Principal told Gloria that he was relieved that Pete was not as rambunctious as Simon because the school could not cope with a Simon clone. Simon tried to pout when the Principal said this, but like always, he was laughing again within fifteen seconds.

All students in Pete's form and above had to choose two elective subjects to broaden their education above and beyond Maths and English and Afrikaans and Social Studies and Geography and the other compulsory core curriculum components. Simon said Pete didn't need to choose, Pete could just do the same subjects as Simon, like Creative Writing and Art, because he wanted Pete in every class because they were brothers. But Pete said he'd like to do different subjects because he wasn't very good at Writing and Art. So he ended up choosing Computing and Economics because he preferred doing things that were organized and systematic.

Gloria was secretly relieved that Pete stood up for himself, and she was pleased that he seemed to understand his skill set was different to Simon's and he would be uncomfortable trying to excel at things he didn't do very well. Simon didn't complain because he respected his brother's wishes and knew that it was really the best choice for Pete and not for him.

And of course there was the less exciting set of chores involved in buying school supplies and school uniforms and sports clothes and some casual clothes. Gloria had worried that Simon would get jealous because Pete was getting a lot of new things and he wasn't. But he was remarkably good about it, although getting a few new clothes himself helped to keep Simon quiet. He was starting a growth spurt, just like Pete, and some of his clothes were getting small on him, so Gloria didn't mind buying two sets of some things.

The administrative things took up time but they could only do them when Gloria was not working. That left the two boys plenty of time to go swimming, play cricket or soccer, and for Simon to introduce Pete to the game of golf.

Simon's approach to sport was the same as his approach to life in general. He went for the spectacular win, largely without strategy. So at cricket he'd hit lots of boundaries but he's get out pretty quickly because he didn't have patience to wait for the right ball. Pete, on the other hand, could stay put at he crease for quite a long time but he wasn't very aggressive and so didn't score many runs. At soccer Simon was always the forward aiming to score from almost anywhere on the pitch, and running around madly chasing the ball. Passing to teammates was not high on Simon's list of ideas. He got lots of exercise, did score his share of goals, but was hopeless at defending. Pete was a defender, he seemed to have the knack of knowing when and where the ball was going to come towards him, blocked it, and passed it off to someone else.

A couple of days after Pete was officially declared Simon's brother, Simon decided it would be a good day to introduce Pete to golf. They walked up to the golf club, Simon grabbed a couple of buckets of balls, took the practice set of clubs that Mr. Coetzee allowed him to use, and Simon proudly announced his was Pete's golf teacher.

Luckily there was nobody else on the practice range, so Simon could show Pete how to get started without disturbing anyone else. To start with Simon hit several balls, showing Pete how to hold the club and what to try to do.

Pete was amazed by how far the ball went when Simon hit it properly. But he also noticed that Simon's personality took over his golf game, just like it did in cricket and soccer. When he hit it well the ball went far and straight, but his good shots were mixed up with wild swings where the ball would slice off to the right, hook to the left, or just squirt out a short distance in front.

"It's very difficult to hit it right every time," said Simon "which is why I need to practice a lot."

Pete had been watching carefully. "Maybe you need to try to keep your swing consistent. It's not the same every time which seems why you sometimes don't hit it right each time."

"OK, smartass. You try, then you can talk!" Simon grabbed an iron from the bag and gave it to Pete.

Pete swung the club a few times just to get used to the feel. He tried to do what Simon told him about just hitting the ground with the club. Then he got Simon to line him up correctly, put a ball on the ground, got focused on trying to hit the ball without too much power, keep his head down, and slowly bring the club up backwards. He swung. There was a ping and ball shot off into the air and bounced down the middle of the driving range. It wasn't the longest hit, but it was very, very straight.

"Beginners' luck! You won't do that again!" Simon laughed and teased his brother. "You'll probably miss altogether next time!"

"Hey, what sort of teacher are you! You're supposed to encourage me!"

Pete lined up another ball, swung, and got exactly the same result as before.

"As I said, beginners' luck!"

After the third ball did the same, a voice came from behind them. It was Mr. Coetzee.

"I thought you said you hadn't played before, Pete."

"No, Mr. Coetzee, I haven't. My career is limited to the three balls I just hit."

"I don't believe you! Stop pulling my leg!"

"No, sir, it's true! Honest, I've never played golf before!"

"I really don't believe you," said Mr. Coetzee, "but if you are telling the truth then that's amazing! No beginner I've ever had has hit the first three balls they tried. And to hit them straight like that, it's impossible. I really can't believe my eyes."

"Perhaps Simon is right, maybe it's just beginners luck."

"No, Simon is wrong. You seem to be a natural. Hit some more balls for me and let's see!"

So Pete hit a lot more balls. He stuck to the irons at Mr. Coetzee's suggestion because Mr. Coetzee wanted to see how he did with those clubs before going on to the bigger and longer drivers.

Alongside, Simon hit a bunch more balls as well. He maintained the same mixture of good and bad shots, enjoying the good ones and immediately forgetting the bad ones.

After about twenty minutes, Mr. Coetzee stopped Pete.

"OK, Pete, you take a break. You've been using muscles you didn't know you had and I don't want you to pull anything. And I want you fit for tomorrow."

"What's happening tomorrow?"

"I'm going to give you a proper golf lesson, not like the one Simon gave you, but one focusing on technique rather that trying to bash the ball as far as possible in any direction!"

"But I don't have money for golf lessons, sir!"

"It's all free. If you are as good as I think you are, you will make a really, really good golfer. I've never seen raw talent like that before. If you can drive and putt as well as you can hit your irons, you'll be club champion in no time at all!"

"That's very kind of you, sir, but I think I'm just lucky."

"Nine o'clock sharp tomorrow morning. And you too, Simon, you'll benefit as well."

After thanking Mr. Coetzee, the boys walked home.

"Pete, Mr. Coetzee is right, you really are good!"

"I don't think so. I just seem to be a bit steadier than you, but you can hit the ball much further. But I did enjoy it, and I can't wait to try again tomorrow!"

In the evening Pete did feel a little stiffness in his shoulders. So Simon gave him a sort of massage on his back and shoulders, rubbing in some liniment to ease his aches and pains. Fortunately for Pete he was face down on the bed because he really enjoyed having Simon's hands squeezing our some of the soreness and stiffness, and one part of him got stiffer and stiffer as the massage went on. When Simon stopped and went to wash his hands, Pete was able to hide the evidence in his shorts so that Simon didn't see.

The golf lesson the next day was pretty successful. Mr. Coetzee got Pete to try out a whole range of clubs, including the drivers and the putter. Pete did fairly well with the drivers, but proved hopeless with the putter. He could sort of get the distance right but he didn't seem to aim very well. Simon was, rather surprisingly, better at putting than Pete because Simon just seemed to know intuitively where the ball needed to go.

Mr. Coetzee was very pleased, and they scheduled regular lessons two days a week after school had finished. He refused any payment, but said he would find a job for Pete to make up for the lack of payment. Simon was thrilled because now they had something else the two of them could share.

Chapter 6

A couple more weeks had passed. The biggest change for the boys was that school had started, and that definitely cut into all their other activities. The morning routine was now well established. Pete got up first, had a pee, put on the kettle to make tea, went and had a crap and then took a shower (sometimes the shower took longer than it might have done because of the need to deal with a persistent erection), got dressed in his school uniform, went and ate breakfast, and then attempted to wake Simon.

Simon eventually opened his eyes, gave Pete his normal big grin, and stayed in bed a few more minutes. Pete knew Simon needed a little personal space at that moment, which was used for peeing, and having his crap before he took a shower. So Pete would leave him to go back to his room and get his schoolbooks and other stuff all organized in his new backpack.

Simon eventually emerged, dressed in the same uniform. Being summer they only wore white shirts with a blue school tie, blue shorts, long grey socks and black shoes. Whereas Pete was normally quite tidy, Simon always looked slightly disheveled, his hair flopping all over his head and his tie slightly askew. Simon would inhale the bowl of cereal Pete had placed on the table and gulp down a glass of orange juice. Breakfast time for Simon could be measured in seconds. Then he'd rush to brush his teeth, grab his backpack and they'd be ready to bike to school.

School was working well for Pete. The teachers seemed very nice, Simon's friends had become his friends as well, his classes were hard but he was able to keep up with his homework, and most importantly he was feeling quite settled. He took his bi-weekly golf lessons with Mr. Coetzee after school and was definitely getting better. He'd learned how to use a driver, he'd learned how to get out of a bunker, but still wasn't any good at putting.

Both boys tried to do their homework before dinner so they could spend time playing together after dinner. That wasn't always possible on golf lesson days, but Gloria made sure they always finished before going to sleep. She was pleased to see Simon was doing better at school. Some of Pete's diligence and concentration on completing homework seemed to be rubbing off on Simon.

With two teenage boys whose hormones were flowing you might expect that it wouldn't take long for them to start messing around in a more sexual way. But somehow, neither boy seemed to want to do that. I mean, they had seen each other naked several times, neither were too shy in that respect, and as is the case when you're that old, both boys had erections from time to time, often at awkward times like in class or in the school changing room after games, but it wasn't a big deal, and they just adjusted themselves and got on with whatever else they were doing.

Pete was in a dilemma. He really liked Simon, and there was nothing more he'd like to do than to get Simon naked and have a wank with him. His favorite scenario was to be lying next to Simon who would be wearing just his ratty white shorts to used for sleeping, then slowly moving his hand up Simon's smooth and firm thigh up to the hem of the shorts, and just slipping his fingers up into the shorts and feeling Simon's balls and his cock, and then gently wanking Simon until he came. That fantasy always got Pete as hard as a rock and he'd come himself just at the time he imagined Simon coming.

But Pete did nothing in reality because he was scared. He was scared because if he tried something on Simon and Simon didn't like it, then he could really mess up their relationship, and that was the most important thing in the world to Pete. He had long since fallen in love with Simon, and the thought of losing that friendship was something he'd never ever risk. And he was scared about what would happen if Gloria every found out about them, she'd probably kick him out of the house and he'd have to go back to his temporary home, and that was inconceivable because Gloria was the best Mum in the world and he couldn't bear the thought of losing her.

And so Pete kept his fantasies to himself, and had to be satisfied with his dreams to what it would be like to have sex with Simon.

Then one evening there was the beginning of a change in their relationship. They'd been in Simon's room as normal, Pete reading a book and Simon leaving through a magazine. Pete decided he better go and brush his teeth and go into his own room and go to sleep. So he said goodnight to Simon, gave him a customary kiss on his forehead just like Mum did to both of them as often as she could, and he could smell Simon's special scent, a mixture of shampoo and a little sweat and a lot of just Simon. It was a smell Pete loved, it was like an aphrodisiac to him. Pete went into the bathroom and brushed his teeth and found he needed a crap. So he did that as well. He realized the door into Simon's room wasn't closed properly, so we went over to close it and caught of glimpse of Simon lying on his back, his white shorts pushed down, wanking at high speed.

Now, normally, if you found yourself in a situation like that, you'd just quietly close the door and go back to your room, and go to sleep. But Pete couldn't turn away because it was like his fantasy was playing out in front of him and he was hypnotized by what he saw. So, through the opening of the door, he watched as Simon went ahead at full speed (well, what other speed would you expect from Simon) and saw his hand piston up and down his rigid cock with the nice little patch of blond hair nestled at the bottom, and then Simon began to tense up, and his back arched a little and Simon gave a little grunt and a couple of spurts of somewhat watery cum came out onto his navel. Pete was mesmerized by the sight of the drops of cum on Simon's flat, white stomach

Pete of course, was rock hard, as hard as he'd ever been in his life, and he'd put his hand in his pajama bottoms and just as Simon came he had the best orgasm he'd ever had. And when he'd come down from that he saw Simon had pulled up his shorts and was watching.

Turning bright red, Pete quietly closed the door, wiped himself off with a towel in the bathroom, found a clean pair of pajama bottoms, and got into bed and eventually went to sleep. But it took a while because the vision of Simon coming in front of his eyes was too powerful to let him go to sleep that easily. And he was scared of what was going to happen in the morning.

But despite Pete's fears, the next morning was as normal as ever. Pete got out of bed, took a shower, dressed in school clothes, went and made breakfast for himself and Mum, they ate breakfast together, Mum left for work, Simon came in looking like the sleepyhead he was every morning, vacuumed up his cereal, and then they got their bikes and went to school. Pete was relieved, he felt he'd dodged a bullet, and he vowed never to take a chance like that again.

School passed as normal as well, the two boys biked home, got changed, got a snack, and sat down to do some homework. Suddenly Simon looked over at Pete and grinned.

"You were watching me last night, weren't you?" said Simon.

Pete turned as red as a well-cooked lobster. He couldn't ever lie because his blushes gave him away.

"Ummmmm….yes, Simon, I did get a glimpse of you. Sorry."

"Don't be sorry. Well, after I was finished I knew you were watching and I didn't say anything. Did you enjoy the show?"

Pete nearly exploded with embarrassment and couldn't think of what to say. All he could do was go even redder, and he gave a little nod.

"And I saw you'd came inside your pajamas, right?" Simon said with a huge grim on his face. All Pete could do was go even redder and give another little nod.

"OK," said Simon, "then next time we must do it together. I've wanted to do that with you for a long time but I've been scared to say anything because I didn't want to upset you and make you mad at me or anything."

Pete was still really embarrassed but he leaned over to Simon and gave him a hug and his normal kiss on his forehead, and he caught Simon's special smell again, and then suddenly they were lying next to each other on the bed looking into each other's eyes. And they were both hard as rocks.

Pete felt Simon's had moving downwards until it was resting on the bulge in Pete's shorts, and he could feel Simon's hardness against his hip, and he had never been so happy and so nervous at the same time. Then he took a deep breath and pushed Simon very gently on to his back and felt the bulge in Simon's shorts, and he managed to undo the button and get the zip down, and Simon cooperated by lifting his hips so Pete could push his shorts down and then he was fully exposed to Pete, and Pete thought it was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. And Simon managed to get Pete's shorts down as well, and they looked at each other and they both liked what they saw.

Pete reached over and took Simon's cock in his fingers and started to move up and down very slowly. Simon just shut his eyes and gave a small moan and whispered "Don't stop, Pete, that's wonderful!" and Pete didn't stop and gradually he speeded up and Simon gave another moan, and then he tensed up just like he had last night and spurted over Pete's hand, breathing heavily. Pete just waited until Simon's breathing had got back to normal. Simon looked over with a huge grin and his eyes were smiling.

"Wow, that was fabulous. I love you, Pete!" and Simon rolled over until he was half on top of Pete, pressed as tightly as he could and not caring that his juices were smooshed between them.

""Now it's your turn!" and Simon moved his hand down and took Pete's cock and started frantically wanking him.

"SLOW DOWN, Simon, you're hurting. Go slowly, you can go faster later, but let it build up, OK?"

Simon did just as Pete said and it didn't take long for Pete to be on the verge, and Simon had speeded up a bit and then Pete felt that wonderful feeling starting from his toes and getting stronger and stronger and moving up his things and getting to his balls and he came and came and came.

"Wow," said Simon looking down. You've cum gallons!" In truth it was three or four spurts but they were a little bigger and creamier than Simon's.

Pete looked down. "Wow, that's the most I've ever done! You're an expert, Simon!" And he snuggled up against Simon and thought this was the best he'd ever felt in the whole of his life, and both boys closed their eyes and took a little rest.

It's a good thing Mother Nature works the way she does. Pete woke up from his nap needing to pee, and glanced over at Simon's alarm clock.

"Quick, Simon, wake up, wake up, its almost time for Mum to be home. We have to get dressed, quick! And we've got to do our homework!"

So the boys leapt out of bed, Pete had his pee, and he found his shorts and got them on, and Simon had a pee and they were both just about dressed when they heard Gloria drive into the garage.

"Wow, that was close, wasn't it, Pete!"

"Yes, but it was worth it, wasn't it?"

"YES!" said Simon. "We need to do that again soon!"

And they did, later that evening, but not after they had a lot of catching up to do in the homework department.

After they had done it again that night, and it was even better than the afternoon because they weren't so nervous and had begun to trust each other even more, Simon fell asleep hugging Pete. Pete didn't want to disturb the beautiful golden boy next to him, and anyway he liked being hugged by Simon, so he relaxed and fell asleep, the two of them clasped together.

In the morning Pete awoke and a whole range of different emotions ran through him. First, he panicked momentarily because he was in a strange bed, but when he saw Simon next to him, that emotion was replaced be one of complete bliss. He decided then and there that he wanted to spend every night with Simon so he could wake up and find himself wrapped in Simon's arms and legs. And that feeling lasted until he realized that he really had to pee badly.

So slowly, and with some difficulty because Simon wouldn't let him get out of his grip, he managed to get out of bed. Simon, although still mostly asleep, moaned and it sounded like "noooooooo….stay…..", so Pete peed as quickly as possible and then slipped back into bed and immediately Simon reestablished his grip and hugged him even tighter and said "mmmmm…..nice….", and Pete let his free arm slowly stroke the soft and silky skin of Simon's back all the way down to his smooth bubble butt, and Simon made a sound that was almost like a cat purring. So Pete kissed Simon on top of his head and Simon turned his head and kissed Pete on his neck and they hugged even tighter. Pete thought this was the most wonderful start to a day he'd ever had. Life was perfect.

They spent every night sleeping together in Simon's bed. It was rather small for two boys to share, but they made up for that by learning how to sleep wrapped in each other's arms. And any minor inconvenience there might be for being squished together was worth it because they fitted together perfectly, physically and mentally.

Pete loved waking up in the morning next to Simon, or rather with Simon's head on his shoulder and one arm draped across his chest, and he could feel Simon's breath against his cheek and he could smell that special scent of Simon which was now made even nicer by the remains of the scent of their orgasms the previous evening.

On schooldays Pete knew he couldn't stay there, but weekends he stayed longer and sometimes got back into bed after he'd had a pee. And if he was lucky, Simon would wake up and have a nice morning erection and they'd have another go around. But even if Simon didn't wake, he'd instinctively hug Pete and pull the two boys back together and make that special noise of his that sounded like a cat purring.

Chapter 7

One Saturday morning Gloria realized that neither of the boys had gotten up, and it was nearly time for them to go to the Golf Club and fulfill their duties for Mr. Coetzee. It wasn't normal for Pete to sleep so late, but it happened from time to time, and all she had to was bang on his bedroom door and he'd be out fairly quickly.

But that morning Pete didn't reply, so she cracked open the door and peeked in and saw that Pete's bed had been made but his Golf Club clothes were still there. There was no sound coming from the bathroom either, and there was no light coming through the crack under the door. Gloria was puzzled.

So she went back into the corridor and cracked open Simon's door and peeked in and she saw two boys wrapped together, fast asleep on the bed, and obviously neither of them had any clothes on. But she'd made enough noise that Pete looked round and saw her.

She had absolutely no idea what to do, but she was smart enough not to say anything. She went back to the kitchen and sat down and wondered what she was going to do. Shortly thereafter two rather sheepish looking boys came very quietly into the kitchen. They looked like they had gotten dressed in a real hurry. They sat down and there was a long and heavy silence.

Eventually it was Pete who broke the silence. "You saw us, Mum, didn't you?" asked Pete in a very small voice and turning red at the same time.

Gloria thought about pretending she hadn't, but in the end she decided that truth was the best option. "Yes, I did," she said quietly.

There was another long silence. Then Pete looked up with big tears forming in his eyes. And in a faltering voice he said, "I'm sorry, it's all my fault, and I know you hate me and want me to leave so maybe I'll start to go and pack." And then the floodgates opened and tears streamed down his face.

Pete started to stand up but Simon grabbed him and screamed "NO, PETE, NO, YOU CAN'T GO. I LOVE YOU! YOU'VE GOT TO STAY!" and he turned and looked at Mum and shouted "IF HE GOES, I GO!" and he burst into tears. And Gloria was in tears as well.

She was the quickest to recover.

"Pete, sit down! Now, listen very carefully, both of you! I confess I'm very surprised by what I saw but let's not do anything stupid. First, Pete, let me tell you this. Look at me!" Pete looked up, his eyes still dripping with tears. "Pete, you are the best thing that's happened to me since Simon was born. I fell in love with you the first day you were here, and I've fallen in love with you more every single day, and I'm going to love you more and more and you can't go and leave because you'll break my heart and my life will be empty. Do you understand that? Good! And Simon, I've watched you and Pete together over the past few weeks and I love you more and more each day, and I'm going to love you more and more as time goes on. You two are perfect together and you've made me the luckiest mother in the whole world. I didn't expect to see what I saw this morning, but if that's the way it is, then I'll have to accept it because I can't bear to think of life without both of you in this house."

By this time everyone was crying so that had another of the famous Barnes' group hugs.

Gloria looked at the clock. "You're going to be late unless you move fast. Wash your hands and faces, get dressed properly, and go to work. And when you come home after work, we'll sit and work out how to deal with all this. Promise me you won't do anything stupid?"

"Are you sure, Mum, you're not mad at us?" asked Pete, looking very unsure.

"I'm fine, Pete, please trust me, it's going to be OK." The two boys gave Gloria one last hug, raced into their bedrooms, put on their Golf Club clothes, drank some juice, and sprinted round the corner to the Golf Club.

Mr. Coetzee grumbled at them for being late and said he'd had to start to do their jobs for them, but because it was the first time he wasn't really angry and he'd really started to like the two of them, and he didn't want to upset Pete because he still thought Pete had the potential to be a really good golfer. The two boys finished off their chores, apologized again to Mr. Coetzee and promised it wouldn't happen again.

Then they went back home, walking rather slowly because they were still convinced that Mum was going to punish them for being caught in bed together. When they got home, Gloria met them and told them to get out of the Golf Club clothes, put on their regular weekend shorts and teeshirts, and then they could come back and they'd have a Family Meeting.

The Family Meeting took place in the living room. Gloria sat in one of the easy chairs and the two boys sat on the couch, very close to each other and looking very apprehensive.

"Ok," said Gloria, "I'm going to get this started. First, I'm not going to punish either of you, so you can relax." The boys looked at each other but didn't say anything. Mum was in control here, they knew it, and it wasn't wise to interrupt.

"OK, I've got a few questions for you both to start with. Just answer as simply as possible, no long explanations. Ready?" The boys nodded.

"I assume this isn't the first time you've slept together, is it?"

Two small voices said in unison "No."

"How long have you been sharing the same bed?"

The two looked at each other. "A few weeks, maybe."

"I assume that it isn't just sleeping together, but that you're having sex as well."

Both boys turned red. "Yes."

"And I assume telling you both to go back to sleeping in your own beds isn't going to work because you'd still sleep together anyway."

Both boys gave a little nod. "Yes."

"When you have sex, are you being safe? You know what I mean?"

"Yes. And, no, we're not doing anything like that."

"But, who knows, you might and probably will! I know what horny teenagers are like!" Both boys went bright red. Gloria continued. "Next question. Have you been having sex with anyone else?"

"NO!"

"Good. Keep it that way. OK, now just sit quietly for a moment until I decide how to proceed."

Gloria sat back, thought long and hard while the two boys appeared to be very interested in examining their feet and not saying anything.

"I can't say I'm exactly thrilled by all of this, but I'm not going to fight it. As I said earlier, it is what it is, and it's not going to do any of us any good to pretend it hasn't happened or pretend it's just going to stop. So what I've decided to do is this. I want to lay down some rules that I expect you both to follow. If you won't or can't, then we'll have to work out something else, but I think what I'm going to propose is a start in the right direction. Is that clear?"

"Yes, Mum."

"First, what's going on between you stays in this house. I absolutely don't want other people to know because Riverdale is a small town and it's not very liberal minded and if people know you two are having sex together, all Hell will break loose, and my reputation will be ruined, and you two will have a miserable life because you'll lose friends and everyone will pick on you. And if Social Services found out, Pete, they'd probably take you away from me and Simon and none of us want that. Understood?"

"Yes, Mum, nobody else knows about us, and that's what we want as well. We're not going to tell anyone, that's for sure."

"Good. Next, practice safe sex. South Africa is full of AIDS and I don't need you two added to the list. So absolutely no sex with anyone else, and if and when you need to, use a condom. I'll get some supplies for you from the doctor's office. And if you need any more, just ask me and I'll get them from the office because we give them out free to everyone who asks. Clear?"

"Yes, Mum, we understand and don't want to have sex with anyone else, this is just between us."

"It's easy to say that, but you two are still teenagers, and teenagers are naturally interested with sex and they often sleep around. I'm sure some of your friends do, whether you know it or not. Remember, I'm a nurse and I see lots of kids your age and I know what they do and what diseases they catch."

"OK, Mum."

"Next, I'm going to bring home a couple of test kits and make sure neither of you has anything. I know it's not common but you can catch HIV or AIDS and other diseases in a number of ways other than having sex. And if either of you have something, it's best to catch it early because the treatment works best in the early stages."

"OK, Mum."

"Then I'm going to bring some pamphlets home from work for you both to read, and you're going to read them and I'm going to ask you questions about them because you need to know what you're getting into and what the risks and consequences are. Sorry to be so clinical, but I love you two both so much I don't want anything to happen to either of you. Is all of this clear so far?"

"Yes, Mum."

"Any questions about what we've talked about so far? Now's a good chance for you to ask me, or just say something. And then there's one more thing I want to say but I'd like to hear from you two first before a finish."

The two boys looked at each other. Eventually Pete decided he needed to say something.

"Mum, I'm sorry, we didn't mean to upset you or make you mad or anything. It just sort of happened. I mean, just like you said about falling in love with me the first day I was here, well I think I fell in love with both you and Simon the first day as well and that's why we asked if I could stay the weekend and you agreed and since then we've just gotten closer and closer together. Me and Simon love being with each other all of the time, and it would be awful for both us if we couldn't be together. So what you've said is very kind and understanding. And we don't want other people to know because it's just between us and it's special for us, it's not just sex. I mean the sex is nice and everything, but it's only one part of what Simon and I feel for each other. I'm just worried we've messed things up for you."

Gloria looked at Pete and fell even more in love with this amazing boy who had grown and blossomed under her eyes.

"Simon, do you have anything you'd like to say?"

"No, Mum, Pete's said it better than me."

"Very well. OK, listen very carefully because this is the last thing I'm going to say."

The boys looked at her, with some degree of concern on their faces.

"You've both done something silly. You should have come and told me before, because if you had, I'd have gone and bought you bigger beds so you wouldn't be so squished up all the time. So when you were at the Golf Club I called the furniture store and ordered two queen size beds for you two. Don't look so puzzled, Simon, I had to order two because if I only ordered one, it would look very odd to your friends when they come round and ask you why one has a bigger bed than the other. OK?"

The boys' eyes got bigger and bigger as Gloria spoke.

"You mean..it's OK?...and we're getting a bigger bed as well?...thank you Mum!"

And both boys leapt off the couch and piled onto their Mum and they had another huge group hug. And the crisis was over and peace and love were restored in the Barnes household.

And, as Gloria had anticipated, they did end up doing more than just mutual masturbation. They learned the pleasures of oral sex quite quickly, and both of them got to know and love the taste of cum when they spurted into each other's mouths.

It was Pete who thought that it would be wonderful to feel Simon inside him so using some of the lube that Gloria had thoughtfully provided, Pete got Simon to slowly push his way inside, and although it hurt a bit at first, Pete soon felt completely fulfilled and the feeling of Simon pulsing deep inside him filling him up with his cum was the greatest feeling he'd ever had, while Simon just couldn't wait to bury himself inside Pete again and again.

Although they tried the other way round, neither Pete nor Simon liked it as much. So they got into a pattern that if Simon was going to fuck Pete they used Pete's bed and fell asleep there, otherwise they'd sleep in Simon's bed. So both their beds got their fair share of use.

And that's pretty much the way it stayed throughout the remainder of the boys' time at high school. Gloria's biggest fear, that the boys would split up and that the harmony of the household would be destroyed, never materialized. Of course there were disagreements and arguments, but they were quickly resolved, and Gloria thanked her lucky stars that Pete had come into their lives because she couldn't believe how happy and content she was.

Chapter 8

Over the next couple of months life in the Barnes household continued to improve, and the three of them couldn't believe how happy they all were. Of course, there were occasional fallings out between Pete and Simon but they learned how to patch things up as quickly as they had started.

The two boys gradually learned how to develop their own individual skills while still strengthening the bonds between them. Simon was the visionary, full of bright ideas but with little sense of how to actually implement them, while Pete was better at planning things out, identifying what was practical, and how they could accomplish what hey wanted.

Simon continued to get into minor trouble at school because he still talked too much in class and was cheeky once too often with his teachers. But the problems weren't serious except once when Simon got suspended for fighting. The resident bully decided to pick on Pete because he was a newcomer and started pushing him around. Pete stood his ground, and a couple of blows were exchanged, at which point a blond streak of a boy charged into the bully, knocked him to the ground and started punching and kicking for all he was worth. No damage was done, but Simon and the bully were caught by a teacher and suspended for three days each. Pete was incensed that Simon got the same punishment as the bully and went to the Principal. He said that while it was OK for Simon to be suspended for fighting, Pete said he wouldn't come to school for three days because he had hit the bully, and said if he wasn't suspended himself he would just be absent. Then Pete told the Principal that if the bully wasn't given a separate punishment for bullying then Pete would go to the Parent Teacher Association and make a formal complaint about the school permitting bullying. When the Principal asked Pete why he was doing all this, he simply replied that if anyone attacked his brother they would pay for it, whether they were kids or adults. The situation was resolved when Simon had his suspension reduced to one day, Pete was suspended for a day, and the bully suspended for a week.

Secretly Gloria was very proud of what Pete had done to support Simon but had to put on a stern face because she did not want either of them to become seen as troublemakers. But on the day they were suspended she took them out to lunch and bought them ice cream afterwards as compensation.

Whenever they had a chance, the boys would help each other with homework. Pete managed to get Simon to understand some Math and that meant his normally poor grades improved. Simon helped Pete to be more creative in his writing and not be afraid to use his imagination. But it was when they were able to do joint projects that their skills really came to the fore because their individual contributions were much less than the sum of their joint work. And both Simon and Pete made sure they could do as many joint projects as possible.

But their greatest and most telling contribution was on the golf course. Since he started taking lessons with Mr. Coetzee, Pete's golf game got better and better, while Simon's hardly improved. He just didn't seem to have the ability to learn to be patient, develop an effective rhythm to his swing, or to gauge where aim the ball. He enjoyed playing, but it was always a wild, rather hit and miss affair when he played. His only real skill was to be able to judge the slope and pace of the greens, so he knew pretty much where to hit the ball even if his subsequent putt didn't go where he wanted.

Mr. Coetzee pushed both Simon and Pete to enter the junior golf tournaments that the club organized every month. Neither won, although when they played as a pair they did better than when they played individually.

After the third tournament Simon was a little discouraged and told Pete so.

"Pete, if I told you where to putt you'd do much better in the tournaments because you can always get to the green better than anyone else. It's on the green that you are the worst. And I'm never going to improve because I'm too erratic."

"Yes, I agree, it's very frustrating for both of us, isn't it. I don't know what to do."

When they went to talk to Mr. Coetzee and explained their frustration, he proposed that the next lesson be just on trying to improve Pete's putting. He said he had an idea and he wanted to see if it would work.

So for the next lesson they went out in a cart and just putted on the different greens. Mr. Coetzee would drop a ball on the ground, ask Simon to place a ball marker at the point where he thought you had to hit the ball to in order for it to go in the hole, and then made Pete try to putt the ball to hit the ball marker. And it worked. Pete began to hole his putts using Simon's directions.

At the end of the lesson, Mr. Coetzee asked them to come into his office.

"OK, you two, I've got something I want to say and I don't know whether you're going to like it or not, particularly you, Simon.

"Pete, you're a really, really, good golfer except you can't seem to get a handle on putting. I don't think you're ever going to win very much unless you can improve that part of your game. Simon, you're never going to win anything. You'll always enjoy playing but you're just too erratic and inconsistent. But I'd like to try an experiment if you're both willing. Ready to listen?"

Both the boys were disappointed in what Mr. Coetzee had said, but they also recognized the truth in what he was telling them. "OK, go on, sir."

"In the next junior tournament I want you, Simon, to be Pete's caddy. When Pete's got to putt you can give him the line and the speed, and let him be guided by you. Then I think he'll win something. But Simon, you'll have to be prepared to let Pete get all the credit even if half of it is yours."

After a long discussion between them, where Simon was thrilled with the idea if it meant Pete could win while Pete was opposed because he said Simon should be able to play, they agreed to try the plan out.

Pete won the next tournament easily. Simon was so excited for him he couldn't stop bouncing around during the presentation of the monthly junior cup. Pete was thrilled to have won, but sad that Simon couldn't get any credit or be able to play. But eventually Simon managed to convince them that this was a joint effort and a true partnership, and if they worked at it then maybe they could do even better.

And that's the way it worked. Towards the end of the year, merely nine months after starting to play golf, Pete won the monthly club championship, the youngest player to ever do that. And that was just the beginning.

At Happy Hour one Friday evening when Gloria was sitting with friends enjoying a glass of wine, and Simon and Pete were off playing with a bunch of their school friends, Mr. Coetzee asked Gloria if he could have a word in private.

"What's wrong, Marcus, have the boys done something wrong?"

"No, no, everything's fine. No, I want to talk to you about Pete. He's the best golfer this club has ever seen. I think he has potential to be even better but I can't help him any more because I've taught him everything I can. So I wanted to see how you felt about putting him in touch with a professional coach."

"How good do you think he is?"

"He's going to be really, really good, Gloria. I think he has the potential to turn professional and if he does, he'll win big tournaments. But it means his life would change. And he'd have to go away to be with a better coach than me."

"I don't want to let him go. Pete's become part of my life. And he'll never go anywhere without Simon. They're inseparable. You'd never be able to split them up, they'd refuse."

"Yes, I sensed that. But let me suggest taking a few baby steps first. I could arrange for him to meet a professional coach for a tryout, and then based on his opinion we could plan the next step. I think I can get someone to come and visit us here so he wouldn't have to travel and he wouldn't be so nervous on his home soil. But you might have to pay him."

"Payment is no problem if you think it's the right thing to do. Marcus, I trust your judgment, so let's talk to Pete and Simon and see what they say."

So a little later the four of them sat down and Mr. Coetzee presented his idea to the two boys. Simon immediately agreed, saying that it was perfect for Pete. Pete refused because he said he didn't want to do anything that Simon couldn't do. But in the end they did all agree to have a professional coach come and give Pete a tryout.

The tryout was more successful than Mr. Coetzee could have dreamed of. Pete played perfectly, the coach gave him some additional advice that Pete immediately incorporated into his game and they could all see immediate improvement. The coach left saying he'd be in touch.

And three days later Pete got a letter from the South Africa Golf Academy in Cape Town inviting him to come for the forthcoming summer vacation, all expenses paid and accommodation for him and Simon in their hostel.

The boys loved the Academy, they loved Cape Town, and they both improved their golfing skills, Pete as player, Simon as caddy. Returning to Riverdale at the start of the next school year, Pete started playing in larger tournaments and the following February, just one year after hitting his first golf ball, Pete was Free State Amateur Champion. The next year, at seventeen, he was South African amateur champion and as soon as he finished high school he turned professional. Simon never left his side, either on the golf course as caddy or at night as brother, friend and lover.

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