*-* Thursday, Peter's POV *-*
Jeremy gave mom the keys to his truck. He and Jeremy took off for points unknown to find Jesus, Maria's son who'd taken off following the fire that had completely destroyed their home, the only home Jesus had known for his entire life. Although the building wasn't much it was all that he had, it had been his familiar and safe (sic) place.
AZ, meanwhile, was quiet and withdrawn. He'd resisted Antoine's request that he accompany them, and then flat out refused and went to his burned out home, sat on the steps, and stared with his vision honed out over the ocean. Matt and I had walked to him, and using what little Spanish Matt knew tried to draw AZ into conversation but the boy would have nothing to do with us.
David, on his crutches, slowly walked to us and said that mom said it was time for us to go pick dad up from the airport and get him home.
Dad's plane had arrived by the time we'd got there. EMS had prepared and had ready an ambulance to take him home but at his insistence the personnel helped get him loaded into Jeremy's truck. He told the crew that he'd passed crutches-101, and with our help and assistance, and Allen and Angel at home, they permitted him to ride home with us.
While mom, David, and the crew were getting everything arranged in the truck dad said, "Are you doing okay, son? I'm afraid so much has been going on that we've not had much time to talk alone, by ourselves?"
"Dad, I can't help to think that had I not acted like an ass none of this would have happened. I'm really sorry. To answer your question... I'm actually okay. David, Dr. Choi and Dr. Choi's partner Alexander helped me through the main part of it. Dr. Choi and mom both say it's just going to take some time, and to do everything one day at a time. Dad, I'd like to help take care of you just as much as I can."
Dad replied, "Yes, we'll take our healing one day at a time. Peter, I do not hold all of this against you. How about we just move forward? We've both got some stuff to heal, and yes, it's just going to take some time. When we get home, I want to tell you some things that Fugi told me this morning, but I want to tell you in confidence, when people aren't around like they are right now. It's very important. It will hopefully put some things in perspective. I feel better, not about what happened to you. I will never feel better about breaking my promise to you, to keep you safe. Here they come. We'll talk later, okay?"
Dad then reached his arms out for a hug, a hug that I eagerly returned and gave without expectations. We both had tears in our eyes.
We arrived home in short order. Allen and Angel were instrumental in getting dad into the house, and settled into the hospital bed that Matt had used while we were recuperating from our operations. Both of us were strong enough, and healed enough to make the trip up the stairs to our bedrooms without difficulty.
As one might expect, dad was exhausted tired from the exertions, so mom shooed us out while she sat with him until he fell into a pain medication induced sleep.
Allen and Angel took off for the pool after inviting David and I to join them. I didn't really want to go swimming. David didn't either but was willing to go if that is what I wanted to do. I said hopefully, "Maybe we could spend some alone time, just you and me?"
David replied assuredly, "That sounds a winner. Are you ready?"
I nodded and took his hand in mine. We went to dad's room to see if there was something we could do to help her or dad. She said there wasn't right then. She walked over, took each of our cheeks, squeezed lightly and said, "Why don't you boys spend some time alone? We've had so much going on... some rest and alone time is most likely just what is needed, so go on. I'll call you if there's something that needs doing."
Upstairs, I stopped by the bathroom, used the facilities, and then joined David who was changing our sheets and tidying up a bit. I took my shirt off, put it in the dirty clothes hamper, and then helped him do some stuff that he couldn't do alone.
When those chores were complete, he stripped down to his underwear, crawled into bed and invited me to join him. I removed my jeans but kept on my underwear, got into bed, covered us up with a sheet. He drew me into his arms. Just what the doctor ordered. I quickly relaxed and even fell into twilight sleep where I was kinda sort aware but then I really wasn't asleep at all. I guess you could call it more of a meditative state. Whatever.
David was really asleep though. His breathing was regular, deep and rhythmical. I rolled onto my side and simply looked into the love of my life's face, his neck, his bare chest and belly, and his filled out underwear. I found and continue to find his physical attributes, all of them, quite fascinating and very appealing. I leaned in, kissed his cheek and laid my head down on the pillow and rested against him. My hand found its way to his chest. I rested my hand on it and began lightly tracing its contours. Goose bumps adorned his arms and his nipples erected. Neither of us are nipple dudes, in fact most times intentional manipulations of them created unpleasant irritations. I fell off into a deep, deep sleep, oblivious to all and everything around us.
Sometime later, I awoke. David's head was turned in such a way to stare into my eyes, taking them all in. His facial expressions were peaceful and relaxed. He smiled broadly at seeing that I was awake. At the same time, we kissed, tentative at first, then more hungrily. Playfully he swiped his tongue across my lips but made no effort to invade my oral cavern. I wasn't nervous or anything, instead, I was drawn to him like a magnet. I found that I was as attracted to him as I was the very first time we'd met.
I thought back to that day, even though I was with the ex-mother and the perverted uncle, when we had dinner for the first time, how we'd played games, how I wanted to be close to him, and how I so hopelessly fell in love with my David.
"Whatcha thinking?" David softly asked.
"I was thinking back to when we first met... you know when you guys invited us over for dinner that one day. I knew then that somehow we'd be together. I didn't know how, or if it would even work out or happen. I'm really lucky to have you. And I'm hella lucky to have a family, a family where we respect each other even when our ideas aren't the same."
David contemplated seriously. "Yeah, that's when I realized I loved you even though I didn't even know you. Did I tell you that I perved on ya? Did I tell you that I watched you do chores on the patio...? God you were working so hard... anyway... I'm not going to go into the bad stuff... what I'm saying is that I fell in love you before we ever met, or laid eyes on each other. I guess <chuckle> that I can tell you that I jacked off so many times with the memory of you fully up front."
I grinned, "Yeah, I understand. After dinner that night, I jacked off so hard that I thought the head of my dick would blow off."
"Speaking of blowing off..." David looked down at our tented out shorts, giggled, and then drew us into a kiss. I didn't feel afraid. I squeezed us together, just letting the moment happen without much thought. I ran my hand up and down his spine all the while feeling his muscles that had begun to become defined in their own right.
It was like electrical energy or some such thing was drawing us together. By then David's hand was rubbing my back, using little circular motions, relaxing my tight muscles so much so that I was starting to feel like a bowl of Jell-O. Even when his hand began traveling down south of the waistband of my underwear, I felt okay.
He separated our faces and looked deeply into my eyes, paying attention to my facial expressions (he would say this is what he was doing sometime later), as his hand headed slightly up and over my globe.
Our bodies came together at that moment. I felt his penis touch mine, which had, by then, become needy. I didn't really feel afraid but I was definitely feeling ardor rise by the moment.
Just as our faces rejoined, and just as my tongue found his lips and parted them, willing to take our physical relationship on that journey we'd know all so well... a series of quick knocks on our door interrupted our quiet yet rapidly advancing interlude...
Quickly, I kissed his cheek, then somewhat angrily got out of bed, walked to the door and opened it.
The second Andy saw me he stepped back. His smile rapidly changed to fear. He turned away and ran down the hall. I said, "Andy wait, what do you want?"
He turned around and said that Alice had requested our presence; that she needed to talk to us. And then he went into his room and closed the door behind him.
When I turned back into our room, David was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking questioningly. I said, "Andy says that Alice wants to talk to us." I then adjusted that which designates me as male so that it would fit into the jeans I was putting on. David had the same difficulty, but we managed.
Horace, Jason and William were sitting at the bar arm wrestling, and Alice was busy in the kitchen. When I went to see what she was making that smelled so damn good, she shooed me way but not before telling me that she needed some supplies from the freezer in the garage.
As I turned to retrieve the supplies she needed, mom and dad exited the dining room, arm in arm. Dad's facial expression definitely registered discomfort but he was going forward.
Allen, Angel, Jason and mom got him sat down at the kitchen table, his legs propped up on a chair, and fairly comfortable. I went and retrieved ice bags and exchanged the melted ones with fresh bags from the freezer and applied them to his ankle.
I then went back to the freezer and got what Alice had wanted me to retrieve in the first place.
I checked on Dad one more time. After he reassured us that he would be okay, and thanked us we took off for the TV room where we got involved in video games.
William, while being a little squirt had sure learned how to play, creaming us older guys like we had never before been creamed. Of course, being his age, he got a kick out of beating the hell out of us. Andy was having fun too as he learned the new games and watched us interact. William assured Andy that he would be sure to teach him the tricks so that he too could soon whip our asses.
After tiring of the games, Andy reached up to the TV to turn it on but stopped in his tracks after hearing William quietly say to me "What happened to you, Peter?"
Immediately, I tensed up and a shooting pain shot from the outer reaches of my rectum up and deep into my belly. David, sitting next to me with my hand in his, squeezed firmly then said "He's not ready to talk about it just yet, squirt. Give him some time."
When the shot of pain subsided, I kissed David on his lips then said quietly, "I'm okay babe. Are you?" David squeezed my hand reassuringly then tenderly kissed my lips.
I shrugged my shoulders and replied to William, "Some people took all choices away from me, William. I don't want to talk about the specifics about what happened, not right now, maybe later. Hey squirt, they hurt me but I'll be okay."
William's wheels were rapidly turning behind his little eyes but before he could say anything, Andy got up, came over and sat between my legs holding them securely in his hands. I leaned down and kissed the top of his head. He had tears in his eyes threatening to fall. He said, "Were you hurt like I was? You know? I mean …"
As soon as the words left his lips, he turned around then buried his face in my jeans, began sobbing and shaking his head violently in an effort to make the pain go away. Together, David and I pulled Andy up into my lap where he buried his wet face into my neck. He wasn't saying anything. He couldn't say anything. Neither could I. Neither could David. We wrapped our arms around each other, unable to speak. I felt strength coming from David … it was my hope that that strength was passing into Andy.
In the background, I heard Jason say, "Come on guys. Let's give them some space."
One by one, we received and gave hugs. Each leaned down to kiss us wherever they could find then left the room, closing the door behind them.
The three of us, we spent the next half hour or so just feeling our emotions of pain, anger, hopelessness, futility, despair … then, seemingly from out of nowhere, peace transcended over us, took us in its warm blanket, and held on snugly.
While regaining our composure, a gentle knock broke the silence. "Come in." David replied.
It was dad. He just stood there for a moment gathering his thoughts, not knowing what to say yet while gathering daddy strength from within. He always knows the right thing to say, and when.
"Dinner is ready."
I could not help myself … I began cracking up at the irony of it all. As we've said before, laughter is infectious. Dad left the room. The three of us looked deeply into our eyes then adequately performed a three way kiss solidifying our bonds from then to forever.
After dinner, and after the perfunctory 'no swim' hour had passed, we all went out to the pool, stripped down naked, got into the water, messed around, and with weak and eventually failed attempts efforts to start a water soccer game. It was no fun without Antoine and Jeremy.
After giving it up, we congregated on the ledge located at the far reaches of the pool talking about everything, but nothing at all … then William innocently said, "Peter, did you beat the shit out of your dad? They said so on TV."
"Don't even answer that Peter. The little shithead doesn't even know when to keep his fucking mouth shut." Jason said as he popped William hard on his bare wet back.
Immediately, William slapped Jason's wet face hard with all of his strength causing Jason to draw his hand back with rage clearly written all over him.
Andy quickly made his way over to me then hid behind my back. He wrapped his arms around my torso, buried his face and began shaking.
David screamed "Will you two stop it already! We've had enough fucking violence to last us a fucking lifetime already! Just get out! Go home!"
Andy squeezed harder, nearly taking my breath away.
"Come on you guys; everybody, take a deep breath and let it out. Take another one, then another one, then one last time, breathe." I said imploringly, wanting the bickering to stop.
"I'm sorry." Jason said meaningfully then looked at William, who looked back at him and said "Me too."
"You dumb ass. Apologize to Peter, not me. I'll get you later." Jason said giving William a hella nuggie.
William, calmed down, said very softly, "I'm sorry. I just don't understand … everything … why did those fuckwits on TV say you did if you didn't?"
Just as I was getting ready to reply, Andy squeezed me tight then came around and stood in front of me. I pulled him into me firmly, and wrapped my arms around him while David put his arm around my waist and kissed my lips.
I took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, "Jason, William, Andy, I did beat the shit out of dad though I didn't mean to. I went into space cadet mode. I totally freaked out. It's complicated but I remembered some shit from my past. I went crazy. Because of everything that had happened, dad fell down the courthouse steps and broke his ankle."
"Please don't freak out on me." Andy said after turning around and looking directly in my eyes with an inner hurt in each of them, soul deep it was.
I hugged him tenderly then, for the first time, we kissed our lips together, holding it for a few seconds until I broke it. Andy nodded then turned so that we were side by side with his arm around my waist.
"Guys, I thought dad was going to hit me. Dad later said that he had wanted to hit me because of my brutal disrespect to him … but he didn't, he wouldn't do that, not ever. He promised me. I believe him but because I was freaked out then, I did not remember that he had promised to never hit me."
David offered, "Peter has a psychologist; they are working through that stuff. He's a really nice guy. Dr. Choi has one damn fine looking boyfriend, but not as totally hot as my man is." David followed that up with a well placed, brief passionate kiss planted directly on my lips.
Andy looked up at me then stepped away. "Oops, I'm sorry about that Andy. I didn't mean to …" I said rapidly, realizing I had pronged up the antenna, standing up and away from my lower regions.
"So, what happened, Peter? I was raped too, you know. I haven't died yet. Sure it hurt me; it hurt me like never before. Yeah guys, my dad fucked my ass while I leaned over a fuckin toilet bowl. Just great. Your own dad fuckin ya; that makes him a real winner – NOT! Jason, William, my brothers Antoine, Peter, David and Jeremy saved my life, so did my new dad."
David stood behind me. We joined in a hug. His prong was half-staff, and nestled in my crack. I jumped then reached back behind me and pulled his half-hard up to where it rested in the small of my back rather than 'there'. He kissed my neck gently. Goose bumps sprang from the base of those little fine hairs rising from my arms and legs.
With David's strength behind me, I said, "Guys, those guys in jail made me have sex with them. I had no choice because they took my choices away."
William looked directly into my eyes thoughtfully then with a confused look on his face, he said, in his childlike voice, "When I get scared or hurt, I can't do it … I mean … it goes down."
"Never mind squirt. It's none of your business." Jason said then pulled William into him, but a bright light flashed across William's eyes like a brightly lit neon sign, then fear, then terror, then sadness came across his face "You mean they put their things up your butt …"
"Uhm, William …" David moaned from behind me. He pulled me into him tighter.
"Shut the fuck up, William. Come on, let's go home. Your questions are stupid. They are hurting Peter." That said, Jason took hold of William's arm but I stopped them and said, "Yes, William, they fucked me, all of them did. They held me, I couldn't get a way … I had no choice."
"I'm sorry, Peter. I'll beat them up, huh Jason? I'll cut their nuts off …" William said with absolute certainty; a tendril of hatred was being born in this innocent child.
"I'm trying not to hate them, William, but it's hard not to. Don't let them hurt you, please. Don't let them change your heart. Don't let them make you hard in here <pointing to his heart>." I said hoping against hope to quiet the anger clearly showing from within his eyes.
That said, William came over, and without asking Andy to move, Andy stepped aside letting William take his place where he pulled me into a deep, deep hug, holding on tightly. I felt a stabbing pain shoot up from my rectum into my chest. While it was brief, thank goodness, William relaxed in my arms as I just simply held him for a few moments. Soon my pain passed but then again, David was holding me tightly from my back side. He squeezed just a little bit firmer.
Jason came over then enveloped us all into a hug. We all shared our love for each other then kissed lightly and parted yet we didn't part, instead, we moved to the side of the pool, stood still and silently for a little while with our arms around each others' shoulders. We did not need to say anything.
After Jason, William and their parents left to go home, David and I excused ourselves, went upstairs, took a quick shower after doing our daily duties to the sewer system then David medicated my hole with a tenderness I had come to love about him. When all seems hopeless, my David brings light into that dark place that pervades my soul from time to time.
When we got comfortable in bed, I grabbed the bottle of body lotion from the bedside table, squeezed a large dollop out on my hand then urged David onto his tummy. I wiped the dollop onto his upper back and began massaging his neck, shoulders – God his shoulders were tight, then moved down past the dollop of lotion and into his lower back where I rubbed firmly yet gently. When I got to the tops of his golden brown globes, I stopped but held my hands steady.
Something broke inside of me right then and there, something peaceful. I realized in my heart and soul that this was my David, the love of my life, the purpose for my existence, my soul mate, who I was rubbing gently.
Without fanfare, I gathered up the rest of the lotion that had rested on his back then took it and ran my hands over his cheeks. As I came close to the crease between those globes of muscle, David raised his hips up toward me. He wiggled his hips in such a way so as to let me know not to forget anything.
When David raised his hips up, in invitation, he quickly slid our pillows underneath his stomach then reached around grabbed my hand and slid it between his cheeks, in the center of them. He urged me to touch his pucker that was winking with desire.
As my fingers trailed through his crack, I did indeed feel his winker wink, like it was calling me or something.
My cock, previously limp began to fill with blood, and desire.
Satiated, David fell asleep. I was wide awake so I got up, took a quick shower and headed downstairs with plans to go swimming.
The house was quiet and dark but knowing the layout very well I headed to the pool. Its underwater lights were on. The water looked inviting.
I checked the water for chemical balance. Finding it satisfactory I swam a few laps. After I'd swam about 12, maybe 13, I made my way to the steps, sat down and just enjoyed the quiet, peace and solitude. I giggled when I felt then saw my wilted member bobbing in time with the ripples created by the light breeze blowing against the water.
My mind wandered a little to where that little guy had been earlier in the evening... specifically and exactly where it had been with respect to my David. My God I loved that guy so much. He's so kind, so gentle, so thinking of me all the time, holding himself in check for me. When I made love inside of him it was kind of like he wasn't there, not that he wasn't there because he was... but it was different... almost orchestrated but not quite... I felt a melancholy setting in but then looked at my cock with a different perspective. I was wondering why David was so fascinated with my man gland. I mean it looks like any other cock, soft or erect. It's cut, as the saying goes. It's more cylindrical with a slightly mushroomed head in appearance. I wondered if that ridge was used to keep your cock implanted, so it wouldn't fall out at the most critical stage of copulating, when all rhyme and reason fly out the window. Was it there to enable maximum sensation when not in the period of time just before all rhyme and reason leave?
So many questions.
With my index finger and thumb I took hold of my cock and rolled it around, looking at all sides, top and bottom. I'd not really paid attention to my cock. Actually, my dick doesn't look all that much different than David's. David's has a stronger ridge because he has a larger mushroom. His gland is more 'masculine' appearing than mine... mine is almost dainty in comparison. When I've told him of the comparison he just shrugs it off and gets busy on making my dick do what a dick does best – fuck. Only we don't call it fucking. We call it making love. And I must say I do like being in David's depths, teasing that little ridge of pleasure until it gets so excited that he burps and causes total convulsions throughout my body until the little guy gets relaxed again, ready for another adventure at some time in the not too distant future.
I decided the point was: I thought my dick was okay. I was really glad that David liked it too.
I got out of the pool, went into the pump room, retrieved a towel, dried off, walked to a chaise lounge, sat down, and then under the moonlight slowly brought myself to a mediocre conclusion. I went slowly because I really just wanted to see my stuff exit that cylindrical, spongy pole that was providing me pleasure. Other than for one small spurt, the stuff just kind of oozed out. Granted I wanted to go fast and furious... but going fast and furious would not have permitted me to just observe it, as if I were a third party or something. Who knows?
It was thick and stringy, for some reason. Usually, after one or two orgasms in fairly rapid succession it is more thin fluid like. Not to worry though.
The taste test was uneventful. A little salty to the first taste but the flavor was mostly neutral.
My balls were hanging freely. As Dr. Miller had said my right testicle was slowly catching up to the prosthetic left one. I rolled them around between my fingers. They felt fine and not a shred of horny was left in my body so I got up, went into the house, made sure the alarm system was set then went upstairs, peed, went to bed, and then started playing with David's stuff... which he liked.
His fluid tastes very similar to mine!
*-* Saturday, Dad's POV *-*
I heard some boys out in kitchen. I recognized them as belonging to David and Peter. I smiled.
Peggy was lying at my side, sleeping soundly. The poor lady had been through so much the past few days. I was glad that she was able to sleep. From the sound of her deep, rhythmical and regular breathing I knew she was sound asleep.
I got up and out of bed with some difficulty. Peggy stirred in her sleep but didn't awaken.
As I trudged using the crutches through the dining room I realized how much trouble they were and how David had adapted with them without much difficulty. So I got off my pity party and trudged forward.
Peter and David, both boys looked up in the middle of a bite off of huge sandwiches. Both boys tossed down their sandwiches, walked to me and helped me into a chair in the kitchen.
They made me a sandwich. We sat around talking about this and that and everything though not about any of our difficulties over the past few days.
At 11:00pm the grandfather's clock rang 11 bells which reminded me that my oldest son, Jeremy, hadn't yet returned from the mission.
Peggy had told me that he and Antoine had gone searching for Maria's son, Jesus. I knew that the beach would be pitch black. I just hoped that they'd found him and were camping out at Father Ben's until morning.
Nevertheless, I had Peter hand me the house phone. I called Father Ben, waking him. We exchanged pleasantries. He asked how I was feeling and if there was anything he could do for me or the family. I said no, not then, but maybe later at another time. I then asked him if he'd seen anything of the boys. He said no but that he'd check the guest room, where Antoine had spent quite a bit of time. He laid down the telephone after assuring me he'd be right back.
He returned a few minutes later and said the boys weren't anywhere to be seen, that they hadn't returned to the rectory.
I thanked him, apologized for waking him at such a late hour. He, of course, blew it off, and was in fact glad that I'd called. He said he'd say some extra special prayers to guide them back safely. We confirmed plans for them to visit us in the morning.
I said my own prayer.
Once David and Peter ate they were nodding off and on though trying to stay awake. I shooed them off to bed, saying that I'd be okay and could make my own way back to bed.
I watched them go, arm in arm, quietly chattering away between their selves. I also noticed something that I hadn't noticed any time before the ordeal happened: they had their hands resting on their bottoms. I knew that there was no way they realized what they were doing, it was no natural and not staged. My heart flipped a couple of extra beats. My hopes grew for them. I just hoped that David did not rush things with his mate though I really wanted them to use their bond to the fullest. I said a silent prayer.
I went to the bathroom and had quite a bit of difficulty negotiating the toilet. Nevertheless, with duties successfully completed I headed to the pool after seeing Peggy sitting in a chaise lounge at water's edge.
She was in deep thought as she got me all arranged and comfortable.
She grinned, "I didn't know you smoked."
I chuckled, and decided to turn it on her, "I didn't know that you knew that I smoked periodically..."
"Oh, you're fast. But not faster than me, mister."
And so it went, we had our moments of levity, easy conversation, intermingled with moments of being quiet, simply enjoying our company.
Even though we'd been together for a relatively short period of time I could read her like a book. She had something on her mind. I'd also learned to let her lead the conversation, speak when she was ready. Nevertheless, I softly asked, "What's up sweetheart?"
The time had been right because she looked into my eyes, rested her hand on mine, and began speaking, "Honey, I've been thinking about Momacita and her family. Their home was totally and completely destroyed by the fire. There is not one single thing left. Even all their belongings were taken away. And that poor Jesus. Oh my, he was hurt so bad."
"He was hurt? How bad? Burns or inhalation?" I asked suddenly, seriously concerned with his physical well being.
"Oh, no, wait... while he suffered some smoke inhalation he suffered no other physical injuries. After some time on forced oxygen he was okay, considering. No, what I'm talking about is his mental state... the boy ran away, totally destitute. He's, I mean they've had so much to deal with over the past few weeks. I've been trying to think of a way to help them out, to give them some hope that life will go on, and that they will again have something to be relatively happy about."
"They've been through so much, and now this. That boy and Antoine are sure close. I'm really happy that Antoine put himself out there."
"I'm proud of him. For experiencing what he's experienced in his short life he is one fine young man. You know, Jeremy's close to the boy also..." Peggy said while nuzzling my ear as she fluffed the pillows.
"I love you, you know."
"Yeah, I love you too. I want to go shopping."
I looked at Peggy, wondering why she made that statement, I chuckled, "Nobody's stopping you... you shop well and you like it."
"And proud of it!"
"Okay, we've got it straight that you've got a smart butt... he's my plan... I'm going to shop until I drop for Maria and the boys. Andy needs clothes too. Whatcha think, 5 or 6 pairs of jeans, undies, shirts, socks, shoes, sheets, blankets, towels, that kind of stuff?"
"Better throw an X-box in for good measures. Jesus is addicted. Allen, the king, told me that Jesus was giving him a run for the money!"
"I'll pick out some clothes for Maria. I think she likes sun-dresses. I'll get her some bright colored ones. Here's my other idea... ready?"
I opened my mouth to say I was ready but she covered my lips with hers. Uhmm.... nice. While my lips were covered she said, "Honey, sweetheart, <I nodded>, since we're going to be building our new home soon... and we've enlarged the family tremendously, and if I go back to work, which I want to do... we need someone here to keep an eye on the boys, don't tell them I said that, <I nodded and rolled my eyes>... and she's excellent cook, and if she were to have a house close by... we could hire her... whatcha think?"
My lips were covered by hers. Her eyes were bright. She was getting to me. And besides that she had a really good idea. I liked it. I closed my eyes and let her, and tremendously enjoyed her selling me on the idea. I was already sold yet I wasn't quite ready to...
"Whatcha think? You aren't saying anything." Peggy said with extreme seduction dripping from her lips, and something else... but hey this is David's story, you don't need to read about what happened next. Or do you? Nah.
"We could easily add a wing to the house for them to live in... or we could build a separate home on the estate. That would give them their independence. I'm open to any other ideas, baby." I said peacefully.
"I think it would be best for them to have their own place. Let's go with that idea. This isn't set in concrete, of course. Maria has the final say so. I'm sure this will be a lot for her to take in. It would be for me." Peggy said while straightening my covers and fluffing my pillows once again.
Once I was situated, I said, "Peggy, we need to come up with some ideas about the lawsuit money to give Peter. I've given quite a bit of thought about having Peter's fingers in some kind of a foundation, one that helps kids. If we have a trust built then all it would do is sit all by itself, gather interest, and generally go to rust."
"I think your first idea is best. I think Peter would really enjoy, no I really think helping some kids in trouble would be something he wants and needs to do. I think it would be a significant boost for his healing. I do think a trustee needs to be appointed. Of course if the money was put into a foundation then it should have a board of directors. In any event, whatever is done with it then his ideas need to be ultimately first and foremost."
"Speaking of the boy... hey honey." Peggy said to Peter as he walked through the door.
He smiled, "Hey yourself. Whatcha guys doing up so late?" Peter said.
I said, "Come here. Set with us, that is unless you have other plans."
Peter sat down on the bed, next to Peggy and within arms' reach of me. I leaned over, patted his thigh. He leaned in and kissed my cheek. He said seriously, "How you doing, dad?"
I smiled, looked at Peggy first and then back to Peter, "I'm doing really good. You mom is taking good very care of me, as are you all. Whatcha doing up? It's late."
Peter hesitated. Peggy cupped his cheek in her palm and asked quietly, "Did you have a bad dream?"
"No. I guess I just wanted talk to you... it's nothing important though, it can wait..." Peter said then turned to get up.
I took his hand in mine and gently urged him to sit back down. I said tenderly, "Son, you are not interrupting anything. If you need to talk at any time then we'll talk, okay? Are we on the same page?"
My son shrugged his shoulders to let me know he wasn't completely sold on the idea, that he was holding back something very important, yet he didn't want to bother us, or he had something to say to only one of us.
Peggy, reading my mind said to Peter, "Is this something you need to talk to your dad about, privately?"
Peter slowly shook his head no. Peggy pulled him into her arms, held him firmly, kissed his cheek and said, "Okay, you've got something on your mind... let's hear it... it will stay right here between the 3 of us, okay?"
To Peggy he asked, "How long is it going to be before I can give David what I want to give him but am too afraid to give him? You know..."
"Oh honey, you can give him intimacy several times a day. There's nothing that says, if I'm reading you correctly, you two cannot be intimate. David didn't hurt you. Your relationship with him is just fine. It will grow stronger... it already is growing stronger day by day. Sweetheart, sex doesn't define a relationship, or it shouldn't. There's so much more to life than the 30 seconds it takes to physically get excited."
"But, how long... I mean... well... we don't define who we are by messing around, not that we wouldn't want to 24 hours a day <Peter smiled>."
I chuckled, "I know that's right!"
Peggy continued, "Honey, Doctor Borkwin wants you to wait a week before you guys are physically intimate in that way. The rest is up to you and David. When you two feel right then it'll happen. Don't rush anything. Try not to think about... just let the river flow. You two are going to be okay."
"Don't rush it, son. I'm just afraid if you rush things along there will be consequences. It might be that your fear will grow. I know David pretty darned good. I do not see him rushing you along... you guys have the rest of your lives."
Peter nodded then lowered his chin to his chest then looked up again. He said, "We're half way there. Uhm, David gave me what I want to give to him."
Peggy said, "If I am getting too personal... please say so."
She continued <smiling he million dollar smile>, "Everything go okay?"
"Yeah, we had fun. I guess I'm just worried that I'll push him away when... I kinda want him to do what I did..." Peter said looking into my eyes. A dad question.
"My son, one thing I know about David is that he is a very patient person. Let me just say that I can safely assume that he'll wait as long as is necessary. He won't feel bad for you taking as long as necessary. Isn't that what you kinda think too?"
"Yeah he will. I just get afraid sometimes." Peter lamented.
"It's okay to have that fear. Just don't let it paralyze you. Peter, I'm going to be absolutely frank about the situation that made you afraid... what those boys and what those guards did was absolutely wrong. Nobody made them do to you what they did. You didn't invite them. You didn't give them permission. Period. There's no reason for you to feel like damaged goods. You had absolutely no control over what THEY did. All you are responsible for, and we will help you every step of the way, is how you take care of today. You have no reason to be ashamed or guilty. Feeling guilty and ashamed are wastes of time. They're counterproductive. This sounds very simple, yet I know it's s not that simple at all. Healing just takes time. We all love you, Peter. You're very loveable, and you have so much love to give that it ain't even funny."
Tears immediately sprang from my son's eyes. They weren't pain tears. They weren't angry tears. He threw himself into my chest, wrapped his arms around my shoulders and held on tight. Peggy wrapped her arms around him too, joining with mine, and together we held our son in his time of need.
For a few minutes, once his emotional upheaval passed, we just sat in companionable silence, just relishing our closeness and solidarity.
"I'll be right back." Peter sniffled then headed into the house.
I looked at Peggy asking her the question if we should bring what we'd been talking about before he arrived. She said, "I think it will do him some good, Jim. I think he needs to know that good can come out of this situation."
"Okay, here he comes." I said as Peter went through the door and came to us as he was blowing his nose.
He tossed the used tissue into the receptacle then said, "I think I'll go swimming. That seems to relax me... maybe I'll swim some laps or something."
By the look on his face and the way he was standing, he was asking permission.
I said, "Peter, we would like to talk to you about your situation some more. Would you please sit down? We think this might help you."
Peter seemed much more free from the angst he was feeling when he first came to talk with us so he eagerly sat down, hugged Peggy tightly then he and I hugged deeply. When we parted he kept one hand on my forearm and his other hand in Peggy's. He wasn't aware that he was doing it. Neither of us flinched, or made any effort to pull away, or shift.
I said, "Peter, we're thinking of asking Maria to come work for us. Mom's going to be returning to work. You guys are an arm load, and you eat us out of house and home..."
Peter snickered, rubbed his tummy... a gurgle erupted. That caused us to laugh... how appropriate to the conversation.
Peggy said, "I'll be right back. We have some ice cream in the freezer." Looking to Peter she asked, "Do you want one bowl or two?"
"Just one with lots of chocolate, PLEASE! I'll help ya."
"I'll get it. Dad will fill you in on some details while I'm gone."
Peggy got up, kissed his cheek, kissed my lips then headed into the house while arranging her slacks. I snickered... it went right over Peter's head which caused me to chuckle.
"Haven't you ever seen David... oh never mind." I snickered, hoping he'd let the matter drop.
Peter snickered, "Yeah, he adjusts 'stuff' all the time."
I roared with appreciation that we were on the same page.
God, my boy has beautiful eyes. They were twinkling as he looked up into the sky at the bright full moon overhead. This child is an angel, I thought to myself. In that moment I knew he was going to be okay. With that thought and vision firmly imprinted I said, "Peter, you're going to soon be in a position to help many people. I'm going to wait until Peggy comes back. We have an idea that we need to run by you before we get too carried away with it."
Peter mused for a minute before saying, "Dr. Choi said that I'm not the only one who's had this happen to him. Dad, there has to be a way to stop the shit..."
Peggy opened the door, juggling three ice cream bowls. Peter jumped up and went to help her. My eyes teared up at hearing those words from his angel side. As it were, I had a moment to collect myself before they sat down and handed me a bowl filled with ice cream and a generous portion of chocolate sauce.
Slurp... "What's the idea you're talking about?" Peter said to me then looked at and settled on Peggy.
She said, (after a bite of ice cream), "What would you do if you had a million dollars?"
Without missing a beat Peter replied, "I'd give most of it to you guys. Peggy, I'd make sure you were able to go back to work doing what you wanted to do, that is if you wanted to, screw the system. Antoine's told me how you were with him and those other kids."
"But you're going to be 16 next year... you'll need a car... you'd get to have a really nice car. You'll want to get out and about, make new friends, and..." I said trying to hold myself together, trying to get him to see the horizon.
"Nah... If I had a million bucks... I don't need that much money, not now. I'll make my living doing something else... maybe you're company will hire me when I get older. That's pretty radical how they took those idiots down... yeah, I think I'd like to do that."
"I would be proud of you to come to work with us. We need new talent and new ideas. Our industry is constantly changing day by day."
Peter looked at me dead seriously, "Dad, I want to go to work with the Peace Corps. Their age requirement is 17, if you're sponsored. Otherwise it's 18. I haven't talked to David about this yet... I'd like him to come too."
I had to set my bowl of ice cream down before I dropped it. Peggy took Peter's bowl because I was reaching to take him in my arms and hug the stuffing out of him.
"Dad, I don't want what happened to hold me back. It happened to before. You told me once that life can be a shit sandwich, sorry Peggy, at times. You also said the important thing is to keep getting up every time we get knocked down."
Peggy said, after wiping her eyes, "Peter, what if you could something just as important as the Peace Corps right here on the islands? The Peace Corps is something I wanted to do when I was in nursing school. I wasn't able to make it. My dad got sick and eventually died... taking care of him and mom was very important to me. I don't regret it for a moment. As God would have it, I was sent to the beaches where I met some really cool people. I felt fulfilled. I'm okay with where I am right now. But I want to do more... I want to reach some kids who really need 'our' help."
Peter contemplated what Peggy had said for a few minutes while he finished chowing down the cream left in the deep dish he was holding in his hands. After setting the bowl on the table he looked up at the moon once again. He tilted his head back just enough to produce that angelic appearance he'd had before. He then turned to me and said, "I overheard Richard and that judge talking, dad. They talked about filing lawsuits against the state and against Richard. The judge said twenty five million dollars. Richard said something about twenty five million dollars against his insurance company or something... what's up with that dad? It's wrong. I don't want any of it. I just want to stop this shit from happening to kids."
With that said he quickly got up from his seat, dropped his running shorts and underwear and then dove in the pool and swam under water until he reached the far side. And then he swam back. And then he swam to the far side and back again. I couldn't believe he did that, not with his recent surgery and...
I sat straight up in my chair, rearranged the pillows and whatnot so I could get up and talk some sense into my boy.
Peggy said, "Leave him be. He needs to work this out. He's not going to hurt himself... if he gets out of hand then I'll go in after him."
"I can't let him hurt this way." I groused then sat up and dropped my leg down which sent shards of pain up my leg. It was breathtaking to say the least but I was intent on getting to my son.
Peggy said, "You stay right here; don't you dare move." She then took off her blouse and slacks, dove in and intercepted our son mid-stride.
After about 15 minutes they made their way out of the water. Peter strode to the pool room to retrieve some towels. Peggy said, "He likes the idea of a foundation. He wants no part of the money. I told him that he would, with some help from financial people and our okay, largely control where it's spent, on what, and why. He's not as fragile as we think he is. He needs a purpose, Jim. All kids need purpose. They have to have something to strive for, something that makes a difference."
*-* Sunday, Peggy's Viewpoint *-*
I'd left Jim in his hospital bed in the dining room at about 2:00am after getting him into bed and comfortable. I went upstairs, took a hot shower and slid into bed.
So... when the alarm went off at 6am, I was none too happy with it. Nevertheless tired and drug out I took another shower then went downstairs to get coffee going. Jim, bless his heart, was sleeping soundly... I wanted to tickle him awake... but restrained myself.
The phone rang. It was Jeremy telling us that they had holed up in the cave because Jesus had led them there... he wasn't telling the whole story... but did say that they were okay, which was the most important thing to hear from a wayward child, not that he was wayward, and not that he was a child... but still...
They were going to catch a ride home with Father Ben, Maria, Jesus and AZ.
As I was sitting at the bar reading the news, which said nothing more of the incident, a little pair of feet came padding in. I looked up. It was Andy with his blanket loosely draped over his shoulders. Sleepy little boy he was. He came in, plopped on the bar stool next to me then kinda sorta fell into my lap, part of him. His butt was on the chair while the rest of him was essentially in my arms. Such a sleepy little boy.
He must have found that position extremely uncomfortable as he soon wormed himself fully in my lap with his head behind my neck and his bare naked butt sticking out over my thighs. That boy was really too big to be doing that but I put my arms around his lower back, my hands cupping his cheeks to keep him from sliding off, and held him anyway.
"Mom, when is Peter going to stop being sad?" A little voice quietly said into my ear. He got down off my lap and sat back on the bar stool opposite me, looking intently into my eyes, and waited for my answer which was very, very important to him.
"I think he's better. Dad and I had a long talk with him last night. Honey, are you okay?" I asked very softly.
"I hurt back there mom. I started hurting again."
Oh my child. "Did you have a bad potty?"
"No, it just hurts real bad."
"Did anything cause you to hurt?"
"Yes. They hurt Peter real bad, didn't they mom?"
My heart nearly broke. I'd heard of the phenomenon between twins and blood brothers... I made myself a reminder to have Dr. Choi talk to this child about it. In the meantime the boy definitely needed some reassurance.
"Yes, they hurt him. The important thing to remember here is that he is getting better. He's going to be okay. So are you. Come on; let's go check you out so that we know for sure, okay?"
He got off the bar stool, took my hand in his and led us upstairs to the bathroom Jim and I shared. His bottom was a little bit inflamed, swollen and tender. He assured me that nobody had put their thing there (I knew they hadn't but he had to confirm it for himself). To make him feel better I went to the boys' bathroom and put a quarter of an applicator full of Peter's medicine inside of his bottom.
Little good that did because he promptly sat down on the toilet... and well... he was okay then though he had to struggle a little to get things started. He held the toilet paper out ... no blood. He was happy and fine after that... he just needed some attention because he'd been there done that himself.
David and Peter were just entering as Andy and I left the bathroom. They were both oh so sleepy but they were happy nonetheless. I went down to Matt's room. He was up and around and headed into the shower. I playfully swatted his bare butt and went back downstairs to wake Jim and get the day officially started.
Jeremy, Antoine, Father Ben, Maria, Jesus, and AZ arrived at about 8am. Jeremy and Antoine looked like two hitchhikers who'd walked a mile and a half through a cave. Jesus was dirty filthy like his two mentors. I shooed them off to their bathroom to get cleaned up before they would be permitted to mingle, or to sit down on one single piece of furniture. Off they went. And yes, they left a sandy trail.
Maria, from out of nowhere, came up from behind me with a broom and dustpan. Dutifully she followed the boys to the landing where the carpet started. She was speaking in her native tongue in a not so friendly manner.
When she was finished with that chore that she did not have to do, she walked over in front of me and then lit into the boys. A slight hint that that was what she was doing came from her wagging her finger toward the stairway. I could not understand a word she was saying... but from her gestures and tone of voice I knew exactly what she was saying!
I awoke Jim at 8; got him a cup of coffee from the bar and then headed... my mistake was going into the kitchen. Maria, in no uncertain terms, although I could not understand a word she said, told me to go away, that she was fixing the meal.
Hmm... The plan just might work.
Oh my other plan... I quickly ran upstairs to Antoine's room where the boys were taking their showers (oh God was his bathroom a mess! Sand was everywhere!)
I popped my head inside the shower just enough to tell Antoine to clean up his bathroom before Maria saw it. I didn't go into detail. I the reached inside the little ones clothes to find size tags and wrote them into a Note on my phone for later use.
Allen and Angel emerged from their bedroom fully showered and dressed. After hugs and kisses I warned them to stay away from the kitchen at all costs. Their puppy dog eyes said that they were very hungry.
Maria wouldn't let me in the kitchen to feed those poor boys.
Little did I know.
When we went downstairs... there was a pile of Mexican omelets being dished up. Maria was dashing her and there in an organized manner. She had me take one to Jim first then she served me and then Father Ben, and by that time all the boys were standing in line with their mouths hanging open wide as the wafts of good spicy food infiltrated their adolescent noses. Forks went into mayhem mode. Be damned if an adult hand enter into that fray for fear of it being eaten off.
After the gorge was completed my boys started clearing plates... but Maria would have no part of their usual cleanup efforts. Instead, they were shooed off so they congregated in the TV room to work off their food by playing video games.
Antoine held back though. He took hold of my hand and led me to the pool deck.
"Mom, they have nothing. Can we do something to help them? I'll work extra chores."
"That's not necessary. Your dad and I have talked. We'll make an announcement later. You'll have to interpret for Maria and to the boys. You wanna go shopping with me?"
My boy smiled broadly. His bright teeth shone through like a torch. He did the right thing: I was grabbed into a hold by my son. Added to that were several kisses on my cheek. Before we left though we needed Maria's clothing sizes. How do you do that without the wrong message being sent... and we didn't want to flat out ask her. There are things you just don't do.
Antoine had the answer. He walked up to her, drew her into a hug, and lifted the very top of her raggedy dress which allowed me to see the tag. The tag was long gone so I would just guestimate her size.
*-* Antoine's POV *-*
Mom and I got out of the house unscathed. I told Matt what was up. He promised to keep the other ones occupied, which wasn't all that hard because they were going at it on the video games. Even Jesus was getting into the act. He was definite threat material, someone to be watched carefully lest my standings be jeopardized.
On the ride to the mall mom explained the plan. She also told me that nobody other than her, dad and Peter knew anything about it, so keep a lid on it until we returned home. I was very happy with the plan. I just hoped that Maria would go for it. She's a very proud woman. I sincerely felt she would be okay since she would be 'working'.
We arrived at just a little after 9am, just as the stores were opening.
The first place we stopped at was a clothing store especially designed for teens and preteen boys. They had a huge sale on off-brand clothing yet the jeans and shirts were really cool so I went nuts and bought 8 pair of jeans for Jesus and 6 for AZ. AZ, being a very large kid was a little more difficult to buy for... in fact his size was at the upper end of the stores' sizes for the age group but I thought he'd be happy with them. I picked out a couple of cargo like shorts for Matt.
Since Andy had essentially nothing of his own, other than what we handed down to him. Mom and I both thought having stuff of his own would boost his sense of self worth... so we went nuts buying shorts, jeans and t-shirts.
Our next stop was the underwear shop upstairs. I wasn't sure what to buy him since he'd not worn underwear, for the most part, since I'd known him. But with the jeans and outside shorts he really needed underwear to protect his assets. I found a close-out table with various colored mid-rise briefs so we got a package of those, and some really cool socks to match.
Our next stop was the women's shop. Mom picked out several brightly colored sun dresses and undergarments for Maria.
Last stop was the local department store where we bought plenty of sheets and towels for them to use and have on hand. In that same store we bought dad a couple pair of jeans that mom could cut the seam out of so he'd have something to wear over the cast.
The Escalade was full of our purchases by the time we headed home on the freeway.
Maria was busy in the kitchen. She had promised a massive feast fest of her signature burritos. The smells emanating from that one room were enough to make a guy beg for more of the good stuff.
Maria's face lit up at seeing the arm fulls of packages mom and I carried into the house. I told Maria, in Spanish, to follow us to mom and dad's room. We spread the stuff out on the bed. She was beaming smiles all over the place saying that this or that would definitely look good on Jeremy, me, David and Peter, Andy, and that the dresses would look really good on mom.
Mom looked at me. That was the cue for me to give the news to Maria that those clothes, other than the ones for Andy, were actually for her family.
"No, I cannot accept those, I'm sorry, please forgive me. I must earn the food and clothing for my sons; I cannot accept hand-outs. Oh please."
"Momacita, please accept them from us. We mean you no harm. Mom and dad have a plan that I hope you will like. Mom is going to tell you the plan now... I will translate her words word by word. We love you Momacita." I said while putting my arms around her shoulders. She loves hugs, and so do I for that matter.
Mom touched Momacita's shoulder and then said, "Maria, we want to ask you to feed us with your good cooking. I am returning to work soon. With all the little ones around we'd like for you to keep them in line as much as possible. We'll pay you. But more than pay, you are so good with the kids. Please accept because otherwise we'll have to find someone much less qualified than you are. As my son said, we love you."
Maria's eyes filled with tears. Sadly, she said, "Peggy, you do not need to pay me anything. I will gladly do as you wish just because I want to." Momacita took hold of my arm, squeezed firmly and added, "Your son, he saved the lives of my sons." Looking at me she continued, "You have not told me where you found my son Jesus, when he left after the fire."
"Momacita, the important thing is that he is at home, safe and sound with you. Please accept what my mother asks of you, please. We want you in our family even more than you already are now."
The tears that had been resting inside of her eyelids began falling freely. Just then Jesus, Andy and AZ came bounding into mom's room. They were full of excitement. Gleefully, Jesus announced that he had beat Jeremy in Jeremy's favorite game. And then David, Peter, Allen, Angel entered the room and confirmed Jesus' excitement, chiding Jeremy all the while. Jeremy took it all in stride and told them that a rematch was mandatory.
Because Maria had not yet made her decision, I spilled the beans, so to speak. Maria's kids swarmed their mother with hugs and kisses, begged her to accept, and then got quiet as church mousses when Maria told them to slow down, to let her make her decision. But they would have no part of it.
Just then Father Ben entered. Surprise was written all over his face at seeing Maria's boys all excited and stuff.
Maria said to everyone present, "I must pray on this. This is too much for me. I have no car. I have no idea how I will get here. Please allow me to pray for the right decision. Also, I speak no English though I have heard the words many times."
With that said Maria left the room, chiding her sons to allow her peace and quiet.
Quietly, I walked to Father Ben and whispered into his ear the plan. Mom said to me, "Please tell Father Ben that we want Maria to live next to us, that she will have her full independence, yet be close enough so that she would not have to drive."
Father Ben took the information in stride. He thought for a moment then left the room. I looked to mom for an explanation.
She took me aside. We went into Matt's and my bedroom. She closed the door. She said, "Honey, this is not general knowledge so please keep it to yourself, for now. Jim and I've talked a lot about this... we are building a new home that is big enough for us to all live in comfortably. We've also decided to build a nice-sized apartment or house for Maria and her family to live in. It will be close enough to us so that she can walk here and be with us yet far enough apart so that they will have their privacy."
I smiled broadly. Laughter and happiness filled my heart. I said, "I'll be right back."
Mom replied, "I'm going with you in case Maria has any questions. We're going to have a family meeting this afternoon at which time the announcements will be made, questions answered, and so that any issues can be worked out. Everybody needs to be involved because this is a family decision."
"Okay, but please hurry." I gushed.
Mom ran her hand through my hair, pulled me in close, whispered in my ear, "I love you son. You've been a very positive role model for those boys. I'm so very proud of you. So is Jim. Can I ask you a very personal question? Your answer is very important to me."
"Sure mom. I promise to be very open with you. I feel good here. I feel loved. I can also freely share my love with my brothers, and especially my Matt."
"What turned your corner to refer to Jim as your dad? You don't have to tell me if you do not want to... I'm just curious."
Easily I answered, "Mom I was very depressed and angry at what happened to Peter. I wanted to, well I wanted to rain terror on those that hurt him. My father, my dad, Jim, he told me that it would not be right to hurt or harm them, that we must trust the legal system. He told me that he loves me and that he knows I will do the right thing. He told me I could ask him questions at any time. My father, my birth father, he never told me that I could do or think anything other than what he wanted. My heart tells me it is okay to trust him. I love him, mother."
Mom smiled. She said, "But he tells all his boys that. It's just the way he is."
"But momma, he told me his words, just me and him. We were talking. So his words are very important. I will not forget them, ever."
A knock on the door interrupted our heart-to-heart, but only for a few seconds. I answered the door. It was Matt.
Without regard for mom's caution, in a rapid fire litany of words I told him of the plan.
"That's a no-brainer. SO what's holding things up? Mom?"
Mom giggled, "So much for secrets. Matt, please keep this under wraps. We're going to have a family meeting this afternoon."
"Okay, no problem. I'll try." Matt giggled.
"Oh my... well, please keep it to yourself, if you can." Mom said so non-seriously that it wasn't even funny.
I said, "Mother, I will keep Matt's mouth busy so that he doesn't have a chance to, what do you call it? 'Spill the beans.'"
Mom laughed heartily. Matt began the process. We practiced. Briefly. Mom was in the room after all.
With that said we returned to mom's room. Maria was sitting on the bed, holding AZ on one knee and Jesus on the other. She looked up warily. But then smiled when we entered the room.
In Spanish she said to mom, "How can I refuse your generous offer. My Christ says that I must accept. I don't know how it will work, but I just know that whatever my God says is what I will do."
I translated her decision to mom and the rest of the family.
Her acceptance was cause for celebration.
Mom then caught the boys' attention. One by one, she gave each boy an armload of clothing picked out especially for them. Andy was 'into it'. He was into Jesus and AZ, seeing the boys' faces light up, and without hesitation both boys stripped naked, ripped the packages open and got dressed in their new clothes.
Mom then caught Andy's attention, handed him a package of underwear, a pair of socks, and a pair of jeans. Mom got one hell of a hug, bar none. He then stripped to his skin and just like Jesus and AZ had done put on his newly acquired clothes.
The boys looked spiffy. All their faces were radiant with their unbridled excitement.
And it was just beginning.
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