Recovered: An Unlikely Friendship

by Hunter Woods

Chapter 4: Clearing The Air

Uncle Walt's assessment regarding the whole diet thing had been correct. Once we told Aunt Harriet about my special needs regarding how to prepare meals she was totally livid to say the least practically coming unglued and making me cringe. Uncle Walt had simply rolled his eyes at her while patting my arm reassuringly letting me know that his wife wasn't upset at me.

Now while I sat at the small dining room table watching Aunt Harriet whip me up a proper breakfast I could actually eat, I almost chuckled when she turned towards us waving her spatula at me and clucking her tongue while she frowned obviously stewing about the situation. This wasn't the first time that she simply huffed before turning her attention back to the pan on the stove. This time though she turned right back around speaking out for the first time since we told her about my diet.

"That father of yours," she huffed shaking her head while pointing that ridiculous spatula at me as if to emphasize 'that father' part of her statement. "I…I…grrrrr, it's a good thing he's not here or I'd simply box his ears." She brooded once more shoving the spatula towards me for emphasis.

This time I couldn't help myself as I all of a sudden busted up laughing my ass off almost falling out of my chair. Once I began to laugh I basically couldn't stop. The look of exasperation on my Aunt's face didn't help matters any allowing me to finally release all my pent up frustration. It felt good to finally let go like this because it's been like ages since I've had a truly carefree laugh, and it was incredibly refreshing. Even Uncle Walt began to chuckle. I don't know if it was because of my uncontrollable laughter or simply because of Aunt Harriet's cross gaze, but soon enough both of us were simply chuckling trying to regain our composure with Uncle Walt holding up his hands in a sign of apology at his wife's expense.

"I don't see what's so funny about this." Aunt Harriet pointed out while I finally managed to stifle my giddiness in some semblance of order.

"Um…nothing." I replied. "I mean…it's just you said the same thing about me earlier is all." I pointed out.

"Oh…um…you heard that." Aunt Harriet looked contrite before adding. "Well…um…you know I wouldn't really do something like that to you. I mean…after all you're still only a child, but your father on the other hand…," she offered up jabbing the spatula at me before pausing when she saw my hurt expression.

It took her a moment to realize it wasn't her boxing my father's ears that hurt me rather regarding how she referred to me as some little kid with her now trying to explain. "Of course Sam we know you aren't a little boy or anything, and are actually growing up into a fine young man, but to us you are still a kid. Besides, don't try to grow up too fast or I will really be forced to box your ears when you misbehave." She teased getting a chuckle out of me conceding her point understanding what she really meant by the comment.

"I know Aunt Harriet. Like Uncle Walt told me earlier, 'no harm…no foul.' Besides, you'd have to catch me first." I chuckled getting a stern look from my Aunt.

It was strange how I referred to the two elderly couple. They truly weren't any relation to me, yet I still viewed them as such. The use of 'Uncle' and 'Aunt' simply rolled off my tongue like it were completely natural.

"Now don't you dare go getting snippy towards me young man. Even if you can outrun me doesn't mean I wouldn't catch up to you sooner or later, and don't go thinking I wouldn't tan your hide either once I did." She emphasized once more thrusting that spatula at me for emphasis while Uncle Walt rolled his eyes at her as if to say 'yeah, like you'd really lay into the boy like that.'

I was about to comment on it in a similar fashion, but decided it best to simply concede allowing Aunt Harriet her little victory even though I was beginning to understand what Uncle Walt meant by her being such a pushover. I knew her threat of tanning my hide was only bluster and nothing more. She'd never lay a hand on me, that much was perfectly clear to me. This did not mean that she wasn't willing to punish me in some other ways if I got out of line, but she most definitely wasn't the type to go around smacking other kids or laying a hand on them.

Aunt Harriet's features softened and she sighed. "Anyway Sam, are you sure about the eggs I'm scrambling up for you."

Looking over towards the stove I nodded my head. I could already smell the home fries she was cooking up along with the hamburger meat mixed in with it. I had watched her when she cut up some already boiled and peeled potatoes mixing them in with the hamburger meat she had spiced up. I don't know what spices she had added, but it smelled delicious making my mouth water and stomach gurgle expectantly.

"Um…yeah…as long as you are sure the eggs come from 'free range' chickens and haven't been pumped full of hormones. Also, if I only eat them now and then it won't be an issue." I assured her while she nodded her head understanding.

"Well if there is one advantage to living in a farm area is that we tend to have a lot of organic fresh food items. We get fresh chicken and eggs from the neighbors up the road from us. It really doesn't take much more to care for the free range chickens since they roam around foraging for their own food. Of course they are supplemented during the winter months, but they are self sufficient for the most part, so to answer your question, no hormones. The same goes for a lot of our meat. We do supplement it with grocery bought meat because it is expensive otherwise, but I'll be sure to make your meat from now on with the organic stuff we have. As for some of the other requirements like gluten free flour and all I'll simply have to work it out and experiment once I get those supplies in." She clucked her tongue looking at me sadly.

"Thanks Aunt Harriet." I winced from her sympathetic look I typically got from most people while also blushing a bit embarrassed about it. "I hope it won't cost you guys too much to feed me." I added knowing my special needs tended to be a bit more expensive.

"Don't be such a silly goose Sam." The rotund woman pointed her spatula at me making me wonder if this was simply a habit of hers. "Your folks sent us some money to see to your needs while you are staying with us, and as for the extra costs most of the food we already get anyway in regards to our meat, eggs, and other stuff. It's only some of the staple items and all that we will have to make some adjustments with. I mean…really…milk? You can't have dairy even if it is organic too?" She asked with me emphatically shaking my head no, while she frowned regarding her next comment.

"Coconut milk?" She grimaced giving me that 'yuk' look while I chuckled.

"You'd be surprised Aunt Harriet." I replied still laughing at her look. "It's a lot better than you think. Well, at least I like the taste of it. Almond milk is good too. Either one substitutes regular milk nicely. I think you'd be pleasantly surprised if you gave it a try." I countered watching while she shrugged her shoulders not looking convinced.

"We will see." She conceded. "Besides, like I said don't worry your silly little head over costs. Feeding one more mouth isn't going to break us or anything." She chuckled good naturedly turning her attention back to the breakfast she was cooking up for me while I looked around not so sure about her last comment.

Uncle Walt must have noticed my expression and began chuckling. "Geeze Sam, do we really look that poor around here?" He retorted teasingly with me blushing a bit embarrassed glancing away not wanting to be a burden while also not wanting to be judgmental.

"No…I mean…it's just…I'm sure…you know with Jamie's needs and all it must cost you guys extra money too. Of course with him it is necessary because of the situation and all, but it still must be tough for you guys. I know you make a good living with the orchard, but does it really pay all the bills?" I asked not wanting to be so nosey, but still a bit concerned I would be a burden financially to them.

Uncle Walt looked over towards his wife shaking his head sadly at me. "Yes Sam it is true that with Jamie's special needs there are financial burdens. We are subsidized by the government for some of those requirements, but of course not all of them. Some of Jamie's needs are taken care of through special classes at school, but other things your Aunt Harriet and I have to try providing for Jamie on our own. We can't afford any special tutors or anything, but do provide other things that tries to help Jamie out with his social skills and all. Financially though we are doing just fine. Sometimes we have to tighten our belts and miss a meal or two, but we are doing just fine." Uncle Walt stated getting a glare and clucking tongue from Aunt Harriet in response to his latest statement.

"Oh don't be so damn dramatic Walt. You are scaring the poor boy. Sam, your Uncle Walt was only teasing about the whole missing a meal or two thing. I mean look at him…does he look like he's starving or anything. He's never missed a meal in our forty plus years of marriage. That I'd never allow." She chuckled pointing that spatula of hers threateningly at her husband who merely chuckled while holding up his hand in mock defeat.

"Now of course sometimes we aren't able to have some of those luxury types of items we would like, but we don't really miss most of those types of things anyway. We are simple folks for the most part, but that doesn't mean we won't spend money on things we truly want or need. We simply watch our money more closely is all. Besides, the orchard isn't our only income." Aunt Harriet added cryptically at the end while I furled my eyebrows questioningly.

I was about to ask what she meant, but didn't have time because Aunt Harriet carried over the large fry pan scooping out a big portion of scrambled eggs and the home fried potatoes mixed with the spiced up hamburger meat. Uncle Walt was looking at the large pan of food longingly getting a chuckle out of his wife.

"Oh, don't go looking all doe eyed at the food Walt, I prepared enough for you too; although, honestly I simply don't know how you can be hungry so soon after your own breakfast." Aunt Harriet chuckled setting a plate in front of her husband so he could scoop out the remaining contents from the pan.

He looked over towards me questioningly first as if to ask if I had enough on my plate getting an 'are you serious' look from me in return. Aunt Harriet had piled up a large heap on to my plate and I wasn't even sure I'd be able to finish it all off. Uncle Walt gave me a big appreciative smile scooping up the rest on to his plate diving in with relish while Aunt Harriet simply clucked her tongue.

"You'll get fat if you keep eating like that Walt." She teased her husband not sounding in the least concerned about that actually happening since he was so active on the farm.

"Hah, not by you bossing me around with all the chores around here." He teased while she smacked him with the towel she was holding in her hand.

"If you aren't careful I'll beat you to death with this towel." She taunted getting a chuckle out of her husband.

"Yeah right, maybe first you need to wrap it around a rock." I added my two cent's worth as the couple turned and looked towards me at the same time making me nervous that perhaps I had gone too far.

By now I should have known that both of them wouldn't be mad at such a playful comment because they began to chuckle and shake their heads. "Now, why didn't I think of that sooner?" The rotund woman replied impishly towards her husband who merely rolled his eyes before scowling at me.

"Geeze thanks a lot Sam. From here on out I'll have to be worried that she will actually take you suggestion to heart." He chuckled not looking all that worried over it as he pulled his wife into his lap with her yelping in surprise before he gave the woman a gentle peck on the cheek.

It was such a tender and sincere gesture. They didn't even seem bothered showing their affection like this towards one another in the company of someone else. I could tell this was a normal occurrence between the two of them. It made me blush a little at their open display, but also a bit jealous that this sort of thing had always seemed missing between my folks. I couldn't recall the last time I had seen that between my parents. Of course they were separated and all, but such affectionate interaction between the two of them had rarely occurred in front of me over the years.

"Delicious as always honey." He stated releasing her.

"What, my kiss or my cooking." She chuckled mockingly wriggling herself out of his lap before she began clearing things away while the two of us began to tackle our breakfast in earnest.

"Yes, delicious Aunt Harriet." I added shoveling another mouthful into my mouth enjoying the explosion of the spices on my tongue that she had added to the mixture.

"Thanks sweetie. That's so kind of you to say. I was beginning to worry about my culinary skills." She chuckled turning her attention back to the task at hand of putting things away.

While we continue to eat Mr. Weiler finally decided to bring up the delicate topic concerning the baby monitor. "Um…sweetie…don't get mad or anything, but Sam and I think we should discuss this whole baby monitor issue." He begins getting an arched eyebrow look from his wife while she scrutinizes the two of us before sighing and taking a seat in front of me.

"Listen Sam, we really aren't spying on you or anything…it's just…well…we have it for Jamie…you know…just in case." She countered while I pause for a moment between bites considering her words.

"In case of what?" I ask her honestly not understanding what she was so concerned about.

My simple question seemed to catch her by surprise. "Well…you know…um…just in case…uh…something happens." She insists while I shake my head still not getting it.

"Like what? I mean…does he sleep walk or something, or maybe falls out of bed? I mean Aunt Harriet he's like eleven years old already and it's got to be embarrassing for him." I tell her honestly while she sighs looking at me not in the least bit convinced.

"What…you don't think he understands about the baby monitor. I mean what about the whole bath thing too. I mean, why are his clothes always dripping wet? It's like he's taking a bath in them. What's up with that?" I wonder trying to lump everything together while both the Weilers simply look at me sympathetically understanding that I've been thrust into this situation regarding the difficulties dealing with an autistic kid.

"Actually Sam, that's exactly the case." Uncle Walt replied in a matter of fact kind of way getting a blank stare from me.

"What is?" I ask not sure what part of my question he was referring to.

"The bath…I mean, it hasn't always been that way." Mr. Weiler continued. "When he was little we could bathe him without any problems. We were even able to hug and play with him a bit, but as he got older things started to change. Then when he was around eight or nine he simply began to wear his clothes when he took a bath. He'd throw a fit if we tried to touch him or get him undressed. After a while we figured as long as he was getting clean then it didn't matter all that much. Besides, his clothes end up in the washer anyway so no big deal." He lets me know while I try to make sense of it all.

"Still, just from what I've seen over the last few days it isn't like he doesn't seem to know what's going on around him." I point out getting a confused look from them both.

"I don't understand sweetie, what do you mean?" Mrs. Weiler inquires.

"Well, when he gets dressed in the morning he seems to recognize his surroundings and he even talks to himself. Then there's Boxey, I mean, he actually talked to Boxey and petted him. He even told Boxey that he was a good boy. So as far as I can tell he seems to understand some things regarding where he is and what's going on around him." I tell Aunt Harriet as she glances over towards her husband.

"You must have noticed it too?" I push a bit confused by their reaction. "It can't be the first time he's done something like this…is it?" I ask looking from one to the other.

It was Uncle Walt who finally spoke up regarding my question. "No…um…it's not the first time Sam, but it rarely happens. When he does speak up it mostly seems to be early in the morning, right when he gets up or soon afterwards. Then it's like he retreats into his own world again. I do have to admit though that this morning was something a bit…well different. No one's ever been able to make that sort of connection with Jamie where he actually interacts with them. We've heard him speaking to himself at times, but never really interact like he did with Boxey. That was something very special."

"Oh…I see, but doesn't that show how there might be more to Jamie than we all think. Sure, maybe he is in his own world most of the time, but it doesn't mean he can't understand what is going on around him too at the same time. What if he really does understand, but simply can't show it to us? I mean, I've only been here a few days, but it seems kind of obvious to me that there's more to Jamie than meets the eye." I state using the old adage.

The Weilers seem to lean back in their chair mulling over my comment. I could almost hear their thoughts as they think about what I've said.

It was Mrs. Weiler who finally broke the silence. "I have to admit Sam that something seems to have changed over the last several days. I mean sure Jamie's taken to Boxey which makes me very happy, but he also seems to have bonded with you too." She adds nodding her head while I frown in thought.

"I don't understand. I mean it is Boxey who got Jamie to talk and pet him; nothing like that has happened between the two of us." I point out bluntly. "If anything I've actually been kind of nasty to him, and I really feel bad about that now. I mean, I felt bad when I did it too, but it's just you know…well…it was an awful thing to do." I admitted feeling a bit ashamed by my behavior lately.

"Oh Sam sweetie, we totally understand. Sure Jamie's taken to Boxey too, but in my opinion that's only because he's been watching you interact with the dog so feels safe to do the same thing. Besides, no matter how you may think of what's happened there's one thing I'm sure about…," Aunt Harriet sighed patting me on the arm sympathetically while I simply arched my eyebrow questioningly.

"Um…what's that?" I finally ask with her smiling warmly at me.

"Jamie for whatever reason is smitten with you, or perhaps I should say is drawn to you for whatever reason." She chuckles shaking her head while I gawk at her completely baffled. ""

"He…I…um…what? I mean…I don't understand." I admitted totally perplexed. "I don't see how. It's not like we've actually spent any time together or anything. Frankly the only interaction we've seemed to have is when I've been mean to him or yelled at him." I told her sincerely shaking my head.

"Sam, that doesn't matter any more. All I know is that over the last several days Jamie's been following you around like some lost puppy dog. We've never seen him do that with anyone. I know it must have been frustrating for you constantly having him getting in the way like that while you tried to do your chores, but for us this is like a positive thing. He's always done small chores and things around the farm, but always alone without ever once taking an interest in anyone else." Uncle Walt pointed out while I basically sat there in stunned silence trying to think back over the last several days.

When I thought about it I had to admit that Jamie always seemed to be close by while I was working on projects. Even in the house he appeared to gravitate towards me while also keeping a bit of distance. He seemed to get really quiet when I interacted with Boxey. I don't mean quiet in the noise making realm, but rather more along the lines of being calmer, and not so focused on rocking or twirling his fingers around in front of his face. He still did those things while around Boxey and me, but it happened a lot less, almost like he were trying to get up the courage to join us in some way yet wasn't able to.

Looking up I noticed the Weilers were deep in thought as well. It was Aunt Harriet who finally broke the silence bringing us back to the topic at hand.

"Anyway Sam, I was thinking about the baby monitor. I suppose since you are now in the room upstairs with Jamie that maybe you are right about it. Besides, nothing's happened for a long time in the middle of the night anyway, and you are up there with him so if something does happen you can let us know." Aunt Harriet smiled understandingly regarding my concern with the baby monitor.

"I suppose as you boys get older it only makes sense you would want a bit more privacy. I've almost forgotten how our little Trevor had become shy needing his own private space so I suppose despite his autism it might be the same way for Jamie too. Sometimes it is difficult to remember he isn't a little boy any longer because of that, but I suppose Walt and I will have to start looking at things a bit differently now that Jamie's getting older." She harrumphs conceding the point willing to give it a try while Mr. Weiler patted his wife's shoulder sympathetically giving her a warm hug for encouragement.

The morning simply slipped away as I worked out in the barn and orchard with Uncle Walt. It was amazing the amount of work needing to attention even during the winter months. We only worked about an hour or so in the barn clearing out some of the stalls and cleaning up the tools. It was a carefree morning and conversation seemed to come much easier today as both Uncle Walt and I joked around while we worked. I had to admit for an old fart he had a great sense of humor and was more than capable of keeping up with my generational mode of banter. After the barn we began focusing on the orchard. It was surprising for me to learn that even during the winter months that the orchard needed maintaining.

As we made our way along the rows of trees we would stop to prune the branches. I always thought trees were pruned in the fall or spring, but Uncle Walt stated it was perfectly fine to prune apple and pear trees as soon as all the leaves have dropped or while the trees were dormant during the winter months typically between December and February. We stacked up the pruned limbs in piles to be hauled away later. We also kept an eye out for signs of mice and rabbits because they could damage and destroy fruit trees by eating the lower bark.

We also checked the trees making sure all the plastic tree guards were in good order. Evidently there was something called sunscald which could occur in late winter while the roots were still frozen. Sun could warm the bark during the day with the cells dying at night because it got cold causing damage to the tree. Young trees with smooth bark were particularly susceptible to sun scald. Plastic tree guards or paper tree wraps could be placed around the lower trunk to prevent sunscald; other methods included painting the lower trunk with white latex paint, or wrapping aluminum foil to shade the trunk. Uncle Walt used the plastic tree guards because he explained they lasted a lot longer and they were easy enough to replace when needed.

Before I knew it several hours had slipped away when Uncle Walt finally called it a day for me. He still needed to check up on a few things, but told me that I had been a big help and I should go and enjoy the rest of the day. At first I hesitated until he told me Jamie should be home from school here fairly soon as well. It was the last day and only a half day anyway. With this in mind I thanked him for teaching me about the orchard which seemed to catch the older man by surprise.

"Really Uncle Walt. It was kind of fun. I like doing things like this, and even when I'm at home I tend to keep busy helping out our neighbors and things. Frankly I'm a little worried if some of my friends are helping out a few of my elderly neighbors like I asked them to." I sighed a bit concerned since the frozen sidewalks could be a bit treacherous for them.

"Really?" Uncle Walt scrunched up his eyes. "Is there good money in it…I mean, shoveling the snow and some of the other chores you do for your neighbors?" He asked curiously.

"Yeah sure…well for the most part. Of course some of the older people in my neighborhood are on a fixed income so I sort of do theirs as well when I'm doing one of their neighbors. I don't charge them for it because they simply can't afford it, but I'd hate to see them slip and fall hurting themselves. Some of them don't get around too well anymore." I added with him scratching his head.

"So your friends…they are now doing all the shoveling for your customers?" He asked scrunching his face in thought.

"Nah, most of my friends are a bit on the lazy side. I've only asked them to help out with some of my elderly neighbors. Of course I promised to pay them for it out of my own pocket, but frankly; I'm not sure how often they will do it anyway. I haven't been able to chat with them yet. The phone reception for my cell phone around here kind of sucks, and of course there's no internet access so I'll have to wait until I get to the library to email them." I told him as I waved goodbye letting him know I wanted to meet up with Jamie when the bus arrives so Boxey and I could walk him home.

The man seemed to beam proudly at that and waved me on my way saying to hurry or I might miss the bus. With this I hurriedly made my way down the rows of trees until I came across the graveled side road that led from the farm to the main street. Just as Boxey and I arrived the bus pulled up letting Jamie out the door. The dog immediately made his way up to the boy who stood motionless not knowing what to make of the dog brushing up against him. I held my breathe a little nervous with how Jamie would react, but the boy didn't seem to complain actually kneeling down to pet the dog eliciting a surprised gasp from the bus driver who finally closed the door and waved at me.

Smiling I waved back, and as it pulled out I spotted the younger boy who I had seen in the general store when I first came into town sitting on the seat towards the back. He really had a cute face accentuated by that smile of his and he actually waved at me. Hesitating a moment I finally smiled waving back to him as he turned around in his seat continuing to wave and watching us until the bus crested the small hill and out of view.

Smiling I turned my attention back to Jamie who had stood back up and was rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet as if confused. I suppose I threw a wrench into his normal routine so he appeared to be trying to work through it. He wasn't wearing a heavy jacket or anything despite the chill in the air, but I suppose it was only a short walk to the house so he probably didn't need a heavy jacket. It wasn't raining or snowing either, and since he was inside at school all day I guess it sort of made sense not to drag around anything heavy while in class.

My eyes settled on his cute features with my body quivering lustfully for something that I knew could never exist between the two of us. My heart broke realizing that for Jamie this was even worse because he would never be able to find that sort of close connection between two individuals. A fulfilling relationship simply wasn't in his cards no matter how much his condition improved if ever as I sighed feeling bad for the boy because he truly was a good looking little studly kind of eleven year old boy. He had nice features with a lanky type of physique, not to mention a gorgeous hard penis that simply begged to be polished off making me yearn to be the one to do just that for the boy.

Damn, where the hell had all of that come from, I pondered shaking my head with my thoughts now turning to the other cute boy on the bus. My penis began to twitch with all of my naughty thoughts I was currently having between Jamie and that other younger boy. Even the other kid who was about my age and had been with him in the general store started to pique my interest. My blood was pumping in my chest now at the sexual thoughts going through my hormonal twelve year old brain before I shook the cobwebs out of my mind focusing back on Jamie pushing the other lustful thoughts away.

"Hey Jamie…I…um…well Boxey and I figured we'd walk with you back to the house if that's alright with you?" I asked while unobtrusively adjusting my rock hard tube in my pants and not really expecting an answer back, but spoke up anyway wanting him to get used to my voice.

I wasn't sure if he could understand what I was saying or not, or if he was actually paying any attention, but somehow I thought it was important. He never seemed to be focused on anything in particular. Even when he interacted with Boxey those moments were fleeting and then he was gone as if returning to whatever little world he seemed to roam around in. Pausing for a moment without any response I rolled my shoulders forward before starting our walk down the rough road to the farmhouse. Glancing over my shoulders I noticed Jamie following me with Boxey close by his side. After a few moments the small long haired boy was walking a few feet off to my side matching my pace stride for stride with his head looking down towards his feet.

I decided to give something a try slowing down my pace noticing him matching me. Then I stopped in the middle of the road and without missing a step he stopped as well. Even I couldn't achieve such a sudden move if I were trying to mimic someone else. His reaction had been almost immediate and flawless. If I were to try the same thing it would have taken me at least one step before I finally came to a stop. I started walking again with Jamie once more mimicking me step for step. It made me giggle the voice of my laughter creating large puffs of cloudy breathes in the air.

My laughter must have caught Jamie by surprise because he suddenly stopped in the middle of the road forcing me to pause as well. "Oh…sorry about that Jamie. I wasn't laughing at you…really. It's just I thought the little game we were playing was kind of fun. I know I've been kind of snotty to you and all, but I promise I won't tease, yell, or make fun of you anymore." I told him not really expecting him to understand.

The boy stood there for a few more moments before suddenly stepping off the roadway making his way along the line of trees. "Hey wait…Jamie where are you going?" I shouted running after him and catching up.

Reaching out I was about to grab him, but remembered at the last moment that he didn't like to be touched. Instead, I jumped in front of him holding out my hands getting him to stop.

"Hey buddy…where are you going?" I asked him in a soothing voice as he simply rocked from one foot to another while I sighed.

"Come-on maybe we should head back." I suggested more than commanded not wanting to get into the mode of telling the boy what to do knowing it would be irritating if someone else did that to me as well.

The boy seemed determined not to turn back though so I looked over my shoulder towards the direction he wanted to go and sighed. "Are you sure you want to go in that direction?" I asked without getting an answer, but also getting the impression he wanted to press forward.

"Alright then, but is it alright if Boxey and I come along with you?" I asked as the boy seemed to look towards Boxey and then glanced at me so swiftly that I had almost missed his flashing blue eyes.

The boy abruptly began walking again so I had to assume it was alright to tag along. We continued to walk down the rows of trees with Jamie leading the way changing directions from time to time making me completely disoriented. After about twenty minutes I was getting a little worried and was going to speak up when we all of a sudden reached a clearing between us and another orchard. In-between was a gate in a fence line and it seemed oddly familiar. Then I remembered that this was the boundary between my mom's orchard and the Weilers.

Jamie didn't pause opening the gate stepping on the other side heading in a direction that I knew was on the outskirts of my mom's orchard. As we neared I could make out the flowing water of a river that skirted a wooded area. I knew that part of my mom's land had the surrounding forest on it so wasn't concerned when Jamie crossed the river on the small bridge and made his way along a path skirting the small stream that diverted from the main river into the trees. Five minutes later we crested a small ridge and the breath caught in my chest. Below us stretched out a small lake that I hadn't even realized existed with a small dock on this side and a similar one on the opposite shore along with what looked like a run down boat house. As I looked around I suppose the lake was still on my mom's property so I guess that meant it belonged to us.

It wasn't a large lake, but it wasn't all that small either as the image of me swimming in it during the warm summer months seemed to catch my fancy making me smile. Even Boxey seemed excited making his way down to the water's edge. The lab in him finally got the best of him and he literally jumped in despite the cold weather swimming around making me chuckle at the dog's carefree nature.

"Wow, this is like totally awesome Jamie. Maybe this summer when it warms up we can go swimming together. I see that Boxey is already testing it out for us." I barked out laughing the sudden outburst making the boy flinch in surprise.

Even though I noticed that the little guy had flinched he didn't seem to mind as he made his way down towards the water's edge watching Boxey enjoy himself in the cold water. We puttered around the lake for a while until I noticed the time gazing at the sky realizing it was starting to get darker. It wasn't late or anything, but it did look like some clouds were gathering for a possible storm.

"Jamie…maybe we should be heading back home now. I mean we didn't tell Aunt Harriet and Uncle Walt where we were going and I'm sure they might be a little concerned." I noted getting up off the ground where I had been sitting on a rock relaxing noticing the younger boy shivering.

"Besides I most definitely don't want Aunt Harriet to go boxing my ears." I chuckled under my breath calling out for Boxey and once more glancing at the younger boy.

"Geeze you look a little cold." I point out to the younger boy taking off my jacket and holding it out to him.

"Here…take my warmer coat and give me yours." I instruct the other boy not giving him a choice but rather making it more of a command in this situation.

Jamie hesitated a moment and to my surprise he actually listens peeling himself out of his lightweight jacket letting it drop to the ground before taking my preferred one and slipping inside of it immediately looking much warmer for the effort. Bending over I slip on his light weight jacket noticing it was a bit tight on me. He was slightly smaller than me, but not by much so the jacket fit well enough for now as we climbed the small rise.

When we reached the top I hesitated because I truly had no clue of how to get back. Jamie didn't even pause making his way back in the direction we had come crossing the river and going through the gate before veering off in an alternate direction we had negotiated earlier. The walk back only took about ten or fifteen minutes and when we entered the mudroom I could see Mrs. Weiler's admonishing gaze.

"I'm sorry Aunt Harriet but Jamie wanted to show me the lake. I never knew we even had a lake." I apologized getting a shocked look from her.

"What…I mean…Jamie took you out?" She asked me while I shrugged my shoulders.

"Yeah…I guess. I met him where the bus drops him off and we were on our way back when he suddenly decided to go a different direction. I stopped him, but he seemed determined so Boxey and I tagged along. It's like way cool out there and I bet it's a great place to go swimming. Are there any fish in the lake? What I mean is there any good fishing there?" I asked getting a nod from my Aunt.

"Um…yeah sure, but are you sure it was Jamie who actually took you there?" She asked curiously making me frown.

"Of course; I told you I've never been there before and didn't even know it was there. Why?" I countered a bit curious now as to what the big thing was all about.

"Nothing…just…well he usually goes there by himself is all. Sometimes when he isn't around we know he's taken off for the lake. It's like his private retreat or something, and he seems drawn to the place, but he's never actually taken or shown anyone the way. This is kind of amazing if you ask me." She states shaking her head. "I told you that there's some sort of connection between the two of you." She sighs sadly as if there was something wrong making me wonder if I had done something I wasn't supposed to.

"Wow, in a way that's kind of cool, but you don't look happy about it." I state as she smiles at me reading my thoughts.

"No Sam, like you said it is kind of cool." She chuckles using my terminology. "It's just that I'm wondering what happens when you have to leave us and go back home." She sighs regrettably shaking her head making me wonder about the same thing now, which is something I hadn't even thought about or considered.

It was Boxey who brought me back to the present when he leaned up against me with his damp coat of fur. "Oh yuck you mangy mutt." I whined pushing him away from me and moan looking towards Mrs. Weiler.

"Um…I'm afraid Boxey sort of took a dip in the lake. It's the Lab in him you know. Anyway, would it be alright if I hop in the shower and wash him off? He's due for a bath anyway. I do give him regular baths to keep him clean and it's easier if he simply hops in the shower with me." I ask getting a scowling look for a split second from Mrs. Weiler before she looks down at him and begins to chuckle at the state of the poor dog's fur.

"Yes of course, I suppose it won't hurt to keep the animal clean. Go ahead and when you get out we will have dinner before I get Jamie in the bath as well. I was going to have him go first, but it doesn't look like he got too cold out there thanks to your jacket. That was very sweet of you Sam, but how on earth did you manage to get him to switch out with you?" She wondered while I rolled my shoulders in the typical kid kind of response.

"He looked cold so I held out my jacket and told him to put it on. He didn't seem to mind. His jacket is a little small for me, but it wasn't too bad." I offered up motioning for Boxey to follow me inside and into the shower.

Sitting in my room later on that night I was focused on my computer screen reading over some of my notes I had jotted down. I was debating on what to do for my report and with recent events when it suddenly occurred to me that I could do something unique regarding autism, or rather my experience living in a household with an autistic kid. As I was perusing my notes a noise caught my attention. Looking up I watched Jamie enter the room dripping wet from his bath.

I've never stayed in the room before when Jamie's come up after his bath so I was curious to see what he would do. The boy seemed to pause for a bit by his bed rocking from one foot to the other as if my presence was making him more fidgety than usual even nervous. I couldn't be sure of course because I still didn't know him all that well, but I was starting to feel a little guilty now as I watched him because if he had a routine then he would have a difficult time deviating from it even if I was in the room and he didn't want me here.

For a moment I thought of getting up and leaving, but then Jamie began to undress and I was riveted recalling his sexy little show earlier this morning. Peeling off his shirt my penis immediately inflated when the light from his little lamp spilled over his body bathing his supple pale skin in a soft glowing radiance. Without hesitating he unbuttoned his jeans and unzipped the fly sliding the pants off of his legs before sitting down on the edge of the bed leaving him in his wet white Hanes boy's briefs. Even in this lighting the wetness of the cottony material revealed the skin coloration and outline of a hard shaft pressing up against the fabric. Even his tight boy pouch was vaguely visible beneath the surface of the now wet almost translucent material making the scene very sexy. Standing back up he pulled down his underwear with his waistband snagging momentarily on the hardness of his erection before his four inch hard tubular boyhood was revealed in its entirety. Typical of most boys' erections Jamie's stiff tube pointed up towards his chest, but had a slight curve forcing the tip of his small knob to bump up against his damp bare pubic mound. His tight egg sized boy pouch snuggled up tightly against his body, but looked sexy on him as he turned his still damp back towards me opening up his dresser drawer to retrieve a hair brush.

It was the first time I've seen him combing his long hair my eyes riveted on the small brush as he ran it through his long tangled wet mane. I was mesmerized with the scene suddenly inhaling deeply realizing my chest had seized up and I hadn't been breathing. That wasn't the only thing I had been holding on to as I forced myself to release my own three and a half inch twitching hardness which I was stroking. Somehow I had managed to shove my hand beneath the waistband of my pajama bottoms masturbating myself without realizing it. Of course it had felt totally awesome, but if I wasn't careful I'd blow my cork with Jamie standing a mere ten feet away from me. That was something which would be mortifying to say the least. As it was, just me sitting there with my hands shoved down the front of my pajama bottoms was a bit unsettling since the boy was so close by. Of course everyone's been telling me he doesn't understand what was going on around him, but from what I've been seeing I wasn't so sure about that.

Damn, he had the cutest little dimpled melons the small hollow of his butt cheeks making me even hornier as he shifted his weight making his muscles ripple along the round deliciously supple rosy colored apples. My whole body shivered forcing me to make a conscious effort not to pull down my shorts and finish myself off. The boy continued to brush his long hair working methodically to get all the tangles out of them. It seemed to take a long time, but finally he laid his brush back down and slowly turned around.

My breath caught in my throat at the sexiness of the smaller boy and what he was doing. I had been so focused on him brushing his hair I hadn't realized he was fondling himself. Now when he turned around facing me his eyes appeared to be glazed over his fingers slowly running along the length of his hard four inch tube up and down pausing every once in a while to roll his petite bullet shaped knob between his thumb and finger.

All of a sudden his penis twitched and I saw his testicles convulse upwards once before settling down again. Even his body had trembled momentarily. It wasn't like a full blown orgasm, but I got the impression something had set him off momentarily making me wonder if perhaps he just had a mini orgasm if there was such a thing. I wasn't sure if he could even have an orgasm or even if he knew what it was or how to go about getting one, but it sure looked as if something had happened. Of course I knew it hadn't been an orgasm per se with his entire body morphing into that blissful state, but I suppose when he ran his thumb along the tip of his knob it had done something for him briefly.

Just then Boxey seemed to perk up by my bed and even Jamie paused with what he was doing. Listening I heard some noise on the main floor by the stairs. The eleven year old boy released his hard tube and I watched him crawl beneath his covers his legs pressing together and squishing his tight boy purse. Even that made me swallow with difficulty because it looked so fucking sexy seeing the outline of his cherry sized testicles pushing against the tightly pulled membrane of his smooth leathery boy bag.

Coming back to my senses I began to panic because I could hear someone making their way up the stairs. I was only in my pair of short pajama bottoms without a shirt on or anything. Not only that, but my erection was obviously noticeable pressing up against the soft fabric. There wasn't time to crawl under my covers because I was sitting on top of the bed in the middle of the mattress with my legs crossed and the open laptop in front of me. So I did the only thing I could and reached over grabbing my pillow stuffing it on top of my lap and hunching over hugging it to my body focusing on the laptop in front of me. Frankly it was a natural position for me anyway because I've done this on numerous occasions back home. The pillow provided a sort of cushion and helped support my weight when I worked on my laptop at night while sitting up in bed.

Mrs. Weiler stopped at the top of the stairs and looked towards me before heading towards Jamie. She paused for a moment by his bedside and I could tell she was tempted to reach out to him for any kind of contact. She held back though stooping over instead to pick up the boy's wet discarded clothes placing them into the basket she was carrying. Jamie was staring towards his small end table as Aunt Harriet reached over removing the baby monitor placing it on top of the wet clothes. She then turned off his small lamp and flipped a switch on a small device which lit up and slowly rotated around in a circle. The lights seemed to shift around making me realize it was a way to help Jamie relax and go to sleep. I could hear the faint clicking sound as if it was on some sort of timer, which made sense to me because of course you wouldn't want it running all night.

Mrs. Weiler paused for another few moments watching Jamie while he continued to stare at the fluctuating and rotating device lost in his own realm before she turned and made her way towards me. "Hey sweetie, I thought you said your computer doesn't work without that internetty thing?" She asked me chuckling because she knew she hadn't gotten it quiet right.

"Well sort of Aunt Harriet. The laptop still works I just can't get internet access so I can send emails or do any research and stuff. I'm just using it for right now to jot down some notes for my report and all. Tomorrow at the library I'll hop on to their computer and try to print out some other stuff to get started on my report." I told her while she smiled setting down the basket and sitting next to me on the bed.

"That's good sweetie, I hope you are getting settled in and things are a bit better for you now. I know we all got off to a bumpy start, but hopefully Walt and I haven't been too much of a downer for you." She chuckled shaking her head. "I've got the baby monitor, but please do keep an eye on him for us. I'm sure nothing will happen, but I'm a bit nervous I suppose." She sighed while I nodded my head sympathetically.

"Sure thing Aunt Harriet." I smiled at her watching her get up and pause for a moment.

"Um…Sam…is it alright if I give you a goodnight hug and kiss?" She asked with me hesitating a moment, but then smiling and nodding my head.

"Yeah sure…I think I'd like that a lot. My mom always does that for me and I kind of miss it." I admitted reaching out and giving her a hug when she kissed my forehead.

"Thanks Sam and good night. Try not to stay up too late sweetie." She smiled patting my cheeks before picking up the damp and dirty clothes heading downstairs.

For the first time since I arrived here I felt all warm and fuzzy inside like this was no longer a strange place but rather a sort of second home. I really hadn't given Jamie or the Weilers a proper chance at making this work, but now I felt carefree and at ease here. Of course I missed my mom, but I suppose it wasn't all that bad here, besides I think I was getting to like Jamie if nothing else. It was like we sort of had a connection with one another. Looking over towards the eleven year old boy I untangle myself making my way towards his bed with Boxey tagging along, and knelt in front of the cute boy.

"Hey Jamie…I just wanted to say good night and also let you know that I convinced your Aunt to take away that stupid baby monitor. Now we can talk together without being overheard. So if you ever feel like talking I've been told I'm a good listener." I tell the boy smiling warmly at him. "Don't worry though if you don't want to talk you don't have to either. I can be a bit shy too sometimes so I understand. I'm sure we will become really good friends, and before long I'm positive we will understand each other just like earlier today at the lake. If Boxey and I can understand one another then the two of us can too." I chuckled getting up motioning for Boxey to follow me back to my bed so I could begin working on outlining my report jotting down notes for tomorrow.

When morning rolled around I yawned and noticed Jamie sitting on the edge of his bed already dressed and waiting for the day to start. Uncle Walt had reminded me he wouldn't be popping up so early in the morning since there was no school, but not to worry if Jamie simply got up and waited for him to show up. I had stayed up late in the evening putting together a general outline that I would refine as I progressed on my story. I was the type of person who had to have things spelled out in some sort of order when I wrote out my reports. I suppose it had worn me out so I hadn't even heard Jamie getting up this morning and missed out on his morning ritual. I chuckled shaking my head at how perverted I had become making me realize that Jamie wasn't the only one who was smitten with someone. I suppose I had to admit I felt the same way about him too.

Hesitating a moment I exhaled softly before crawling out of bed my boner tenting out my pajama bottoms leading the way towards the bathroom. I took a quick glance towards Jamie a bit nervous about my erection, but he seemed to be in his own world as I pinched the tip of my penis hurrying to the bathroom so I could relieve the pressure that had built up overnight. It didn't help that my balls had ached practically all night begging for joyful release. Pulling aside my pajama bottoms at the hem of my left leg opening I fished out my hard pecker finally releasing the dam quivering with relief in the process. Normally my morning erection would go away after I took a piss, but I've been neglecting my other needs lately so for a moment I thought about giving my spud a good tug to release the other tensions. It sort of felt weird though to do that sort of thing since Jamie was just on the other side of the door. It was a tough decision, but in the end I tucked my erection away and decided to take care of my needs later when I got back from town. I was determined to find a safe spot for my…well…let's just say discreet activity.

Washing my hands and brushing my teeth I made my way back into the room I shared with Jamie. The boy was still sitting in the same spot as I bit my lower lip looking around. It would be too awkward getting dressed out here so I began to gather up my underwear, jeans, and shirt turning towards the bathroom to get changed. Just then my phone rang catching me by surprise because I really didn't get a good signal around here. When I had tried using it the other day the signal simply had dropped on me. Dumping my clothes on the bed I reached for my phone answering it surprised by the voice coming from the other end.

"Dad?" I answered sitting down on the edge of my bed my boner quickly deflating.

I'm not exactly sure how long I sat there on the edge of the bed only snapping out of it when I felt a soft touch on my shoulders. It sort of shocked me at first and I flinched looking around a bit disoriented before glancing up noticing Jamie fidgeting in front of me while he patted my shoulders.

"Sammy sad…sad…sad." He repeated while I wiped away the wetness from my cheeks.

I hadn't noticed that I had been crying so I tried to compose myself. "Thanks Jamie, but I'm alright now." I replied smiling at him warmly before getting up and grabbing my clothes ducking into the bathroom to get changed.

The younger boy started to follow me, but I gently told him that I'd be right out. He hesitated a moment rocking back and forth on his feet just outside the doorway focusing his gaze on his fingers twirling them around nervously.

"Really Jamie, I'm fine." I tried to reassure the boy kind of surprised that he seemed so concerned for me.

Then something else seemed to pop into my mind after I shut the door so I could get changed in private. The boy had come over all on his own patting me on the shoulder sympathetically and spoke to me. He actually knew I had been feeling a bit down after my phone call. Taking a deep breath I quickly slipped into my clothes and opened the door. Jamie was still standing where I had left him with Boxey looking a bit concerned by his feet. Putting on a brave smile I motioned for both of them to follow me downstairs for some breakfast. I could already smell Aunt Harriet cooking something up for us.

Without realizing it my fork was leaving a trail of blue, red, and other colored berry streaks along the top of my plate while I pushed around the fresh cut up fruit not feeling all that hungry this morning. My mind was elsewhere today as I continued to push around some of the blueberries watching them roll around between the slices of bananas, oranges, and strawberries. I suppose at the moment I must have looked like Jamie when he was zoned out.

It was Aunt Harriet's apologetic voice that brought me out of my musings. "I'm sorry Sam, but once we have some other groceries I'll try to prepare something better. I know you mentioned last night you didn't want anything heavy this morning like eggs or anything since you didn't want to over do it with that sort of thing even if it did come from a range free chicken farm." The woman sighed contritely.

It brought me out of my own thoughts as I looked up at her giving the woman a brave smile feeling bad that I had made it look like what she had prepared wasn't good enough. "Oh no Aunt Harriet, it's perfectly fine…really…thanks I appreciate it." I assured her when Jamie got up and patted my shoulder.

"Sammy sad…sad…sad." He states repetitively shocking the Weilers because it is the first time they've ever seen him display this kind of behavior towards someone else.

Despite the significance of this event the Weilers focus their attention on me. "Why on earth would Jamie say that?" Uncle Walt inquired concern etched on his features.

Without thinking I unhook my belt with the small pouch and wrap it around Jamie's waist. He flinches when I touch him while clipping the belt on him and starts to retreat back into himself, but I quickly distract him.

"Hey Jamie, I thought that since you and Boxey are getting along so well maybe you could help me out with him. This is his bag of doggie treats." I tell the boy who looks down at the belt and pouch now securely hooked around his waist.

He seems to contemplate whether or not he approves of something tied to his waist rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet. It was like he was starting to zone out again so once more I distracted him trying to bring him for a few moments back into this world. It was Boxey who seemed to get his attention, the dog leaning into the long haired boy prompting Jamie to reach down and pet him.

"Good boy." The small boy whispered making me smile with how easy it was for the dog to insinuate himself into Jamie's life.

"That's right Jamie. Boxey needs encouragement and praise from time to time when he does something nice. Inside the bag are some small doggie treats. What you do is give him one when he does something good, but you also want to make sure you don't do it all the time. I treat him to one of these snacks maybe two or three times a day, no more. You need to mix it up with telling him he's a good boy, petting him, and these little treats; otherwise, he will want a treat all the time and that's not good for him." I explain not knowing if the boy understood or not getting up to retrieve Boxey's leash.

"Here, why don't you take him outside and go for a walk?" I tell Jamie holding out the leash with the boy staring at it for a moment and not moving. "It'll be easy for you to do…really. See all you have to do is hold on to the leash and walk. Boxey will walk with you." I literally show him walking the dog around holding on to the leash.

"He might tug on the line, but if you hold on to it tightly when he does he will slow down when he feels it tugging on his neck." I offer up holding it out once more which he now automatically takes from me without further thought once more surprising the Weilers by the interactive nature between the boy, dog, and me.

"Keep him on the leash this time and don't let him run around. It's good to do that with him every once in a while so that he stays comfortable walking with a leash on him. It's important because some places he needs to have one on him. Take him outside, and then give him a treat if he behaves…one of these." I tell the long haired boy handing a doggy treat to him from the bag around his waist watching him hesitate for a moment before heading for the door with Boxey behaving and following alongside the smaller boy without tugging on the leash or anything which made me breathe out in relief.

"I'll be damned." Uncle Walt exhaled shaking his head. "How in the world are you getting Jamie to listen to you?" He asks while I slump back down into my chair shrugging my shoulders still a bit distracted, but responding to Uncle Walt's inquiry.

"I don't know. I just talk to him like he understands. I ask him to do things, but then I really don't offer him a choice. Like just now…I asked him to walk Boxey but simply handed him the leash." I shrugged my shoulders as if it were that simple. "I'm sure from time to time he won't do something, but then again who cares because we are all like that too. Besides, I'm sure Boxey has a lot to do with it. Jamie's bonded with Boxey and my dog seems to understand him so it just works out I guess." I mumble shaking my head.

"I see." Mrs. Weiler stated sitting down in the chair next to her husband on the opposite side of the table from me. "Well…I think we should talk about this some more later on because we've never seen Jamie behaving this way before with another person. Maybe Boxey is a factor or not, and him connecting with the dog is a great thing, but to be honest him doing the same thing with another person is more important. You are the first person's he's actually interacted with. Sure in some ways he interacts with us, but not to the extent he seems to do with you." Aunt Harriet assures me making me pause for a moment to reflect on it.

"Yes, like Harriet says, we can discuss that issue later. Right now we'd like to know what Jamie meant. Is something wrong Sam? I thought we had worked things out yesterday and that everything was fine." Uncle Walt asked a bit worried looking towards his wife whose lips were also pursed with worry.

"What? No…I mean…yes." I blurted out my tongue not able to get out what I meant with the Weilers frowning not understanding as I took a deep breath to slow down.

"What I mean is that there's no problem with us. It's just…," I paused scrunching my face and pursing my lips trying to hold myself together.

"It's just what sweetie?" Aunt Harriet asked me reaching over patting my hand affectionately urging me on. "We are here for you no matter what." She added.

Hesitating for a moment I nodded my head. "I know Aunt Harriet…it's just…um…well dad…uh…he called me up this morning." I told them in a soft whisper bowing my head while Aunt Harriet clucked her tongue as if to ask what now.

"I see…well…what did he do now?" Uncle Walt interjected not in the least bit pleased.

"He said mom has cancer." I managed to get out feeling something deep inside of me finally give way.

Ever since my dad had told me over the phone why mom's been feeling so tired lately I've been trying to keep it together. I was doing fine, but actually having to tell the Weilers out loud seemed to finally break me as my whole body began to shudder. Aunt Harriet reacted first immediately getting up and wrapping her arms around me hugging me lovingly to her. That was the last straw with me finally breaking down as my eyes welled up and I began to ball in a way I haven't done since I was like five or six years old. My whole insides turned upside down and I could hardly breathe. It was like my chest would seize up on me when I tried to gulp down a lungful of air.

In the background I could here Uncle Walt hiss in surprise getting up making his way to us. "Geezus cripes Harriet…what on earth was that man thinking about doing something like that over the phone? I swear if he were standing here right now I'd deck him."

"Hush Walt. We can talk about you knocking him on his ass later." Aunt Harriet rebuked her husband as she patted my back sympathetically letting me get it out of my system for another moment or two, but not letting me spiral downwards to wallow in my own grief.

"Sam…listen to me…it's going to be alright. Just tell us what your father told you." Aunt Harriet stated releasing me so I could sit up and gather my poise.

Both of them waited patiently for me to compose myself as I sucked in air with my chest rattling around a bit. Wiping away the wetness from my cheeks I leaned back against the chair looking down at my fingers trying to remember my conversation with my father.

When my dad had called me he told me they had sent me away because mom wasn't feeling so well and they wanted to get some tests done. The results were back in now and it appeared as if mom had some form of cancer. He didn't tell me what kind it was, but stated she would be having some treatments here soon. Evidently it was a slow spreading kind of cancer, and it looked like they had caught it early on. With this sort of disease their success rate was extremely high with people rarely succumbing to this form of cancer when it was detected at this stage so he told me I shouldn't worry. The doctors were right now leaning towards trying radiation or chemotherapy since the malignancy was a slow moving one before they considered surgery. They would monitor the progress over the next several weeks, and if they had to then they'd do the surgery.

"Dad say's that the doctors don't think they will need to do surgery, but I don't understand why he won't let me go visit her." I whined telling them everything my dad had told me over the phone before once more losing control and crying like a little baby.

This time Aunt Harriet let me cry myself out. My whole body ached afterwards while I sat at the table drinking a glass of water with my hands shaking. It's been a long time since I've had such a cry, and I never wanted to feel like that ever again. Aunt Harriet sat in front of me smiling sympathetically, encouraging me to get some water down to ease my dry throat.

"I want to see my mom Aunt Harriet." I sniffled, the emotions threatening to bubble over once more at how helpless I felt with the entire situation.

"Well then we will simply have to see about that, but it will have to wait Sam because right now we can't do anything about it." She stated holding up her hand to ease my mind seeing my impending protest.

"Listen, we can't do anything about it today so you might as well head into town like you guys planned. While you are gone I'll give your father a call and find out what's going on. I know you are worried about your mom Sam, but if there is one thing I know about your father is that he doesn't lie. He may have his faults, but that is one thing he's never been good at. So if he said everything is fine then we have to believe him." She assured me patting my hand and looking over to Uncle Walt who nodded in agreement while I sighed shaking my head not so confident, but deciding to let Aunt Harriet handle it.

With everything that's happened between me and my dad I wasn't so sure I could trust him anymore. I mean just look at what he did to my mom. He had cheated on her, but when I thought about it I had to admit that it didn't sound like he had lied about the situation to my mom either. It was almost as if she had known about it. She had insisted to me that their relationship had been over for a while now so I shouldn't blame my dad for their separation. Of course she hadn't sounded happy about the affair, but she hadn't exactly condemned it either letting me know that in light of the situation she didn't blame my father for finding someone else. Still, it had been a rotten thing in my opinion for him to have done even if they were only separated. It wasn't like they were divorced yet, which was another thing I couldn't understand. If my father loved someone else why not simply get a divorce.

It was too confusing because my dad was keeping so many secrets from me. I could tell my mom wanted for us to all sit down so that things could finally be aired out, but for whatever reason my dad was not willing to take that step. It was as if doing something like this didn't fit into his neat little world, which once more frustrated me to no end.

A couple of hours later I was in the General store talking with Earl who stopped by on Mondays and Thursdays on his way to and from some of his major stops. The man was a decent sort who always had a quick smile. After telling him what I needed he assured me he knew exactly where he could get all of my groceries because he had a nephew with celiac disease which is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. People who had celiac disease couldn't tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. In addition to gluten his nephew also had to watch out for other food items so the man most definitely understood the issue I was facing and was more than happy to accommodate me.

When Jamie entered the General store Earl's smile broadened even more before he set down a lollipop on the counter top and sat back watching the smaller boy approach who hesitated for a few moments. The man eyed Boxey critically who was on his leash with Jamie holding on to it. When the dog sat down Jamie gave him a quick pat on the head, but didn't say anything probably a bit too shy around so many people. Still, this simple act caught Earl by enough surprise that he arched his eyebrows looking towards me questioningly.

"This is Boxey, my dog. It seems like Jamie and him have become fast friends." I explain.

"Really…wow. I've been coming into town for years now and never seen Jamie respond to anything at all. I mean, it took me years to even get him to take the lollipop from the counter." Earl admitted pointing towards Jamie who was in the process of taking the sweet treat tucking it away in his coat pocket while the man sighed shaking his head.

"I suppose it'll take another several years before I can get him to eat them." The man chuckled. "I wonder what he does with them." He added shaking his head. "Anyway, you have my phone number in case you need anything else, and in regards to the other matter you mentioned I'll see to it as well. Just let me know." He finished off as I thanked the man before heading towards the door with Jamie following close behind.

Uncle Walt had gone over to the bank to get some things squared away letting me deal with Earl after he introduced us. Jamie had stayed in the truck, but now I suppose had decided to come inside after all. I'm not sure if it was because Earl was waiting inside or if he simply got bored. At any rate I hesitated a moment wanting to go to the library, but not sure how they'd react to Boxey.

Coming to a decision I reach for the door catching a glimpse of the older sixteen year old boy from the first day I rolled into town. He sneers at me in a dismissive manner as his gaze settles over towards Jamie menacingly. I could tell he had been eavesdropping on our conversation with him now glaring and giving us a smug smirk, but I didn't think much of it figuring what's the harm in knowing about the grocery arrangement I had with Earl. Boxey seems to pick up on the older boy's menacing gaze his hackles immediately rising up along his back while he lets out a low deep throated growl at the menacing boy who now suddenly loses his smile and backs up heading in the opposite direction down the tightly packed row of stocked shelves.

Kneeling down next to the dog I give him a good scratch behind the ears to calm him down. "It's alright boy, he's simply a thick headed bully. If we ignore him hopefully he'll ignore us."

Making my way down the sidewalk towards the end of the street I stop in front of a big large brick building. Uncle Walt had told me that this building was the library. It was the second largest building in town that I had noticed when I first arrived. The other building was the courthouse which also housed the small sheriff's department with a few jail cells, the Mayor's office, and a few other governmental departments. It was the big building that had the grassy knoll and gazebo situated out front.

To my surprise the librarian didn't even mind Boxey accompanying Jamie. She was genuinely pleased to see the younger boy and immediately directed him towards the kids section off to the one side of the library. When she came back to deal with me we started to chat for a bit with her explaining how the Weilers brought Jamie in several times a week to do some behavior therapy, speech-language therapy, play-based therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Some of these things they did at home, but other things they did in the library because they had the tools here to do that sort of thing.

When I told her I was here to find out more about Autism so I could understand Jamie better she seemed thrilled. She asked me about Boxey and I told her some of the things that's happened lately between the boy and dog. The lady was noticeably impressed letting me know this had been the biggest progress yet for Jamie and actually thanked me for introducing the dog into Jamie's routine.

In short order she had me set up on a computer and directed me towards some good links I should consider utilizing for my report I had told her I was planning on writing as a school project. When I asked her about the cost of printing out some documents she simply chuckled and handed over a flash drive saying I could borrow it and download any information I needed telling me to return it back to her later. She even reminded me they had wireless here so next time I should bring in my laptop with me and she'd give me the access code. Sitting in front of the computer I sifted through information on autism for about an hour basically looking through the material briefly before deciding what stuff to download for me to look at later. This way I could read the material when I had more time back in the privacy of my room at the Weilers' place.

Just before I left the librarian motioned me over to her desk. "Have you ever heard of 'keylation'?" She inquired prompting me to shake my head watching while she swiveled her computer screen towards me and I began to glance over the material.

"Geeze, I'd never have thought it spelled that way by the way you pronounce it." I chuckled looking at the word 'Chelation' on the computer screen with the librarian nodding her head understandingly motioning for me to hand over the thumb drive.

Inserting it into the USB slot she downloaded the information for me to read up on later. She stated Chelation (pronounced key-LAY-shun) therapy was a treatment used in conventional medicine for removing heavy metals (including mercury) from the blood. She explained that some people with autistic kids used the therapy along with a strict kind of diet removing such things as dairy and gluten. Evidently some of this has had a profound affect for some kids who are autistic.

The rest of the day basically melted away because it was already late at night with me now looking over the materials on the computer screen that I had downloaded from the library taking meticulous notes and using references to some of the material. The more I read the more I became confused. Recently the definition of autism had sort of changed to include a wider scope than it had initially. Some people who had been diagnosed with say Asperger's Syndrome now fell under the Autism Spectrum Disorder or commonly referred to with the ASD acronym. Focusing on the screen I began to read the information regarding these changes whispering the passages under my breath.

"Before May, 2013, there were five separate categories of autism diagnosis. Today, there is just one: Autism Spectrum Disorder. Whether your autism is very severe or relatively mild, whether your diagnosis was Asperger syndrome or Autistic Disorder, you are now grouped under the same umbrella diagnosis.

If a person already had an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis -- even one that no longer exists in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) -- they are still considered to be autistic. Here's what it says in the manual: Individuals with a well-established DSM-IV diagnosis of autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder, or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified should be given the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.

While there is just one autism spectrum disorder umbrella diagnostic code, clinicians are urged to also implement additional criteria which include levels of severity and specifiers to describe the unique features of his or her autism. Thus, you or your child can now be identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder needing a particular level of support and with additional specifiers such as physical or psychological disorders or low intelligence.

If a person is newly evaluated or re-evaluated, and his or her features don't fit the criteria as specified, he or she may be given a brand new diagnosis, Social Communication Disorder, which looks suspiciously like the old PDD-NOS. Many are concerned that this new diagnostic category may wind up being a catchall which includes many people who have autism-like symptoms but are not eligible for the same services as people with autism.

Another important point, which you'll see repeated in the set criteria, is that symptoms must begin when a person is very young -- but even if symptoms have disappeared, a person is still considered to be autistic if they were ever diagnosed as autistic. Here's how that caveat is stated in the DSM: 'Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities, or may be masked by learned strategies in later life).' This appears to suggest that even if a person has actually been successfully treated to the point that he or she is 'indistinguishable from typical peers,' he or she is not considered to be 'cured.'"

After reading that passage my head began to spin with all of the mumbo jumbo as I read a different article explaining basically the same thing. In a nutshell it essentially stated that: effective with the release of DSM-5 in May 2013 there will be a change in the way we describe autism-related disabilities to the singular "Autism Spectrum Disorder." Clients will no longer be diagnosed as having "autism" versus "PDD-NOS" or "Asperger Syndrome" as all of these different classifications will officially go away. However, individuals with ASD will be referred to as having one of three severity levels. It then started in with the different levels of severity of ASD along with how to identify and classify them. These things included the severity in level regarding a person's social communications, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors. Depending on the severity in each one of these categories determines where a person falls in these three levels. For example level one is considered to be a person with autism who requires basic support, level two requires substantial support, and level three required very substantial support. Again to me it was just the typical standard of beating around the bush and not very informative.

Getting tired with all the double speak and re-categorization I decided to turn my attention to some statistics. Even here there were differing accountings such as in some places it cited that one in every one hundred fifty children being diagnosed with autism versus maybe another article citing one in every eighty eight children. I suppose some of this depended on location and region, but no matter what, statistically speaking this meant there were a lot of kids out there with some level of autism. More than I had even thought possible. I started compiling a list of other talking points to use for my report which included: Although these numbers vary one out of one hundred fifty children in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism, boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism, Autism is a neurological disorder, there is currently no cure, autism impacts the typical development of the brain, people with autism find it difficult to communicate with others and relate to the outside world, they do not tend to understand social etiquette and usually have few friends, autism is not caused by bad parenting, autism is not a mental illness, autism affects the person but does not define them, like all people autistic people have strengths and weaknesses, they are not "weird" or "retarded" deserving love and respect like you or me.

Next I began to read through some information regarding diet and other therapy programs like Chelation which the librarian had pointed out to me. It was oddly strange to find out how a diet similar to the one I was on actually helped kids with autism. Evidently some food items reacted negatively in kids who have autism actually hindering some of the skill sets most of us take for granted. It made me wonder how Jamie would respond to removing some food items from his diet. Of course autism was a neurological disorder so I suppose certain foods could disrupt the normal neurological workings inside kids without anyone being any the wiser. Certain food items most definitely had an affect on me with how I felt, so it made sense that these same food items could affect Jamie in a different way. It was something I intended to discuss with the Weilers.

The one thing that really caught my attention making me pause and think was a video slideshow. The video simply called the ten things every child with autism wishes you knew pointed out these ten issues: 1) I am a child with Autism. I am not "autistic." It does not define me as a person. 2) My sensory perceptions are disordered. It means that the ordinary sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches of everyday that you may not notice can be painful for me. 3) Please remember to distinguish between what I choose not to do and what I am not able to do. It is not that I don't listen to instruction it's that I can't understand you. 4) I am a concrete thinker. Meaning I interpret language literally. Don't tell me something is "a piece of cake" when there is no dessert in sight, just say "this will be easy for you to do." 5) Please be patient with my limited vocabulary. It's hard for me to tell you what I need when I don't know the words to describe my feelings. 6) I am visually oriented. Please show me how to do something rather than just telling me. Please be prepared to show me many times because repetition helps me learn. 7) Please focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can't do. Look for my strengths and you will find them. There is more than one "right" way to do most things. 8) Please help me with social interactions. It may look like I don't want to play with others, but sometimes I don't know how to start a conversation. Encourage kids to invite me to join them; it may be that I'm delighted to be included. 9) Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns because they are even more horrid for me than they are for you. They occur because one or more of my senses has gone into overload. 10) Love me unconditionally. Banish thoughts like, "If he would just…" and "Why can't she…" I do not choose to have autism. Remember that it is happening to me, not you. With your support and guidance, my possibilities are broader than you might think. I promise you…I am worth it.

As I read through the simple statements it all sort of made sense to me. Many of these points fit Jamie to a tee. Some of them have even happened in my short time here with the boy and the Weilers. It was like I had instinctively known all of these things, but until it was actually pointed out to me it wasn't in clear terms.

It was late by the time I finally closed my laptop glancing over towards Jamie's bed. Scooting off the edge I padded my way to his bedside. The blanket was shoved downwards barely covering his bare ass his long hair scattered loosely along his naked back and shoulders. Lifting up the blanket to pull it up so it would cover him up the boy suddenly shifted in his sleep turning around lying on his back. His hard erection even in his sleep made me chuckle as I tucked the blanket below his chin. Looking down I noticed the tent in the blanket with the fabric bobbing up and down from each beat of his heart forcing me to cover up my mouth in order to stifle my giggle because it was hilarious seeing this happening on someone else.

Even in his sleep the poor boy's boner wouldn't go away. It made me wonder if he was always hard down there. If so that would have to suck for sure as I chuckle once more realizing that I too was sporting a big hard chubby. Damn, the boy turned me on to no end, I grumbled to myself while making my way back to bed.

Crawling under my covers I shivered for a few minutes trying to get warmed up while I thought about what I had come across today at the library. My research had me both confused yet also more informed in some aspects of Jamie's condition. As I thought about it there was a lot of information to digest. Of course I would use any important information for my report, but when it came to Jamie I'd also use anything that I felt would help him out. Besides anything was better than simply not trying at all, he deserved that much from us.

Yawning, I closed my eyes and tried to push all this new information from my mind. It was late so it didn't take long for me to finally fade off to sleep despite the stacks of data swirling around in my brain.

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