Isaac and William visited Claire and Wesley until early afternoon, when Isaac suggested that they get home, since Timmy and Sean would be home from school, and William should get started on his take home assignments. William was now satisfied that Wesley would live if William left the hospital, and Claire encouraged him to listen to Isaac. She felt that the sooner William got back to a normal routine, the less damaging the effects of last Sunday would be on him.
Isaac promised William a spaghetti dinner with garlic bread, and they stopped at the store on the way home to pick up a few things. Peter would be coming by after closing the store, and even though he had not met William, Isaac had filled him on the basics, so Peter knew the circumstances. Peter also had something to discuss with Isaac as well.
Timmy came home and dropped his books on the table and kicked his shoes off, then grabbed William and tickle tackled the boy until he was gasping for breath and begging for relief, panting and red. William cackled and didn't try terribly hard to escape.
"I been wanting to do that since you got here" Timmy said.
"Let him breathe just a little, Timmy". Isaac urged.
"Okay, just a little." Timmy agreed. "Ready to get started on this homework?"
"Not really" William sighed.
"I didn't think so, either...sit down and take a look at it, and I'll be right back." Timmy said. "I need to get out of these clothes."
Timmy went to his room and changed into gym shorts and a tee shirt, and came back out to the dining table and rejoined William. They spread his school work out, and Timmy asked.
"What do you want to work on first?"
"Umm... the English....it sucks" William said.
"Why is that?" Timmy wondered.
"It's 'cause you have to do these sentences....yick!" William said, which got a chuckle out of Timmy and Isaac, who was preparing marinara in the kitchen. William glanced up at Isaac and watched him dice an onion, then stir it into the tomato sauce in the skillet.
"Mom just uses the sauce in a jar." William said.
"I like my own better" Isaac replied. William turned back to the sentences and began to work the tasks his teacher had assigned.
Shortly after Isaac began boiling water for the pasta, Sean came through the door and dropped his book bag on the floor. "Hey guys" he said as he stripped off his shirt and went down the hall toward Timmy's room, stopping at the bathroom. Soon, the others heard the sound of urination as Sean relieved himself without bothering with the bathroom door. He went in Timmy's room and stripped the rest of the way and put on a tee shirt and a spare pair of Timmy's shorts.
He came back to the dining room table and sat down next to William. "These are yours...thanks" he said to Timmy, referring to the clothes.
"I know" Timmy responded, not looking up from what he was reading.
"Do you guys always do that?" William asked.
"Do what?" Timmy replied.
"Change clothes after school and wear each other's stuff"
"Um, usually we just take clothes off after school" Timmy said, grinning at Sean.
William looked confused. "You mean, ...you guys like... do homework naked?"
Sean giggled and replied "Yup, just about always."
"It's more comfortable after being dressed all day." Timmy said, almost as an aside.
Sean and Timmy could see gears turning in William's head, but the boy said nothing.
After what the boy had been through, the unwritten rule was that they would not practice clothes-free living in William's presence, even though there were no secrets in house after the last two mornings.
"So what happened at school today that was noteworthy?" Isaac asked as he simmered the marinara.
"I hooked up with those kids from the recitals, you know the keyboardist and bassist, and Danny Thompson. We are going to get together and see if it clicks." Sean said.
"Is this going to be a band?" Timmy asked.
"We'll see how it goes." Sean replied.
"How did your day go, brother?" Isaac inquired.
"We had a quiz in auto shop today...and they gave us a take home assignment." Timmy said. "We have to write down what happens if you take the cable off the battery and connect a regular turn signal or taillight bulb to the battery and the disconnected cable, and then try to start the car, and why...and show all work!" Timmy explained, imitating his instructor's speech.
"What did you say would happen?" Isaac asked.
"Well, half the class says the bulb would explode, because the starter current would vaporize it." Timmy replied.
"What do you say?" Isaac probed.
"The bulb just lights up and that's it." Timmy said. Isaac was not surprised that Timmy would disagree with the conventional wisdom in the auto shop class, but he wanted to hear his almost teenaged brother's logic on this one.
"How did you come to that answer?" Isaac asked. He had taken the same theory classes that Timmy was in now, and had written the same response when he completed the assignment seven years ago.
"The bulb drops all 12 volts across it, so the voltage across the starter is zero, and the only current in the circuit is the current the bulb draws." Timmy explained, holding up the Ohm's Law worksheet he had filled in with the math to support his hypothesis.
"Exactly what I said back when I did that one." Isaac said with a wink.
"So, did you get it right, Isaac?" Timmy wondered.
"Yeah...and it was about half and half in our class too...wait until you see what he's gonna do to the exploding bulb theory believers." Isaac chuckled.
"Really, what?" Timmy wanted to know. Isaac wagged a finger and shook his head. He wasn't going to spoil it. They watched William work his sentences until the meal was ready.
Sean was working on his assignments, and kept busy until he loudly slammed his book shut, startling everyone else at the table.
"Stick a fork in that, it's done!" Sean giggled.
"Drama queen!" Timmy teased, rolling his eyes. William looked up briefly, fixed each boy with his gaze, then went back to his English homework.
"Can I quit when all the English is done, and work on the math and science tomorrow?"
"What all do you have in that pile of stuff, William?" Isaac wondered.
"English, Math, Science and History" the boy replied.
"Can you do one subject a night and get it all finished?" Isaac asked.
"Yes, if I finish this now."
"Need any help?" Timmy asked.
"Umm, I need five symmamums for each word on this list" William said, causing Timmy and Sean to burst into laughter, and Isaac to choke on a drink of tea. William was completely confused by his host's reactions, and looked around the room.
"I think that's synonym, William..." Timmy suggested.
"That's what I said!....I think." William blurted.
"Reminds me of someone else I know..." Isaac offered.
"What?" Timmy asked.
"Who is always saying "What you said!" in situations like that?" Isaac leered at Timmy.
"So what's the list?" Sean asked. William had to stop giggling first to respond.
"Umm, luster, cold, begin, and soak" the boy said.
"Luster....Uh, gleam, shine, glitter, sparkle, flash" Timmy suggested, looking at Sean.
"Uh, cold, frigid, icy, frozen, ....shit!" Sean flapped. "Can't think of any others!"
"Don't write "shit" down, William!" Sean quipped, making William roll his eyes.
"I really wanted to use that, Sean!" the ten year old teased back.
"How about chilled, and shivery?" Isaac asked. Sean nodded. Timmy replied "What you said" causing the others to laugh again.
Soon, William had all the words he needed, and the English tasks were finished. "Can I try something out?" he asked of no one in particular.
"Uh, what's that?" Isaac wondered. William got up from his seat and kicked his shoes off, then his socks, and took his pants off, standing in his briefs and shirt.
"The pool" the boy said, as he opened the patio door, and stepped out on the deck.
"This we gotta see." Sean said. "You'll freeze your nuts off, William, if you get that far."
"Maybe!" the boy chirped, tiptoeing out on the cold patio bricks. William climbed the ladder and perched on the top step, sticking his foot in the water.
"Oh, G- God! That's so cold!" He said, as he pulled his foot out and climbed down the ladder and scurried back into the house. The others chuckled.
"You got guts, little man!" Timmy said, as William slipped his pants on. He took his socks and shoes to the room his clothes were in, and came back to the dining area where the others were setting the table and putting out the spaghetti and bread.
"William, can you get the pitcher and pour everyone some tea?" Isaac asked.
"Uh, sure" the boy replied as he found the pitcher. They busied themselves with the meal, and when it finished, Sean and Timmy cleared the table, while Isaac washed dishes and William dried. It took less than ten minutes to do the task, and Isaac saved a portion for Peter. He would be by around eight o'clock, and probably had nothing to eat since lunch.
Isaac remembered that Peter wanted to talk to him about something, and wondered what it was, and why Peter hadn't just told him earlier.
William wanted to play chess with Sean and Timmy, and the older boys flipped a coin to see who would play him first. Sean won the toss, and found that William was not as easy to beat as he thought he would be. He barely defeated the young boy, and then it was Timmy's turn. Timmy had learned to play under Pat's tutoring, and beat William several times. Each time he did, he showed William where he had lost the match, and suggested alternatives. William soaked these lessons in, and Timmy could see his game improve, much as Pat had noticed that Timmy never lost a game by making the same mistake twice. Sean had gone to the couch to watch something on TV, and soon Timmy and William joined him, with William in the middle between the older boys. After a while, William got up and padded down the hall in bare feet to the bathroom, and relieved his bladder.
Peter came in, and said hi to Sean and Timmy, then went in the kitchen, where he gave Isaac a passionate kiss, just as William stepped out of the bathroom and came down the hallway. Neither Peter nor Isaac noticed that William had seen the greeting and kiss, and William simply returned to the couch and curled up with his feet against Sean's thigh and his head in Timmy's lap.
"William, did you meet Peter?" Timmy asked, and William shook his head.
"He was talking to Isaac."
"Come on, I'll introduce you." Timmy said, as he pushed William upright, and got off the couch. William followed Timmy into the kitchen, where Peter was sitting at the table, and Isaac was making a plate for him. Timmy led William into the kitchen, and said
"Peter, this is William...he's staying with us for a while." Peter's eyes lit up and he replied
"It's a pleasure to meet you, William. How are your mother and brother doing?"
"Um, they were hurt bad, but I think they will be okay."
"Yeah...I think they will too....I heard what happened. Are you okay?" Peter asked.
William nodded his head. He looked at Peter and Isaac strangely, prompting Peter to ask
"Uh, everything all right, William?"
"Yeah...I guess" William said evasively with his head and eyes down.
Peter was picking up a strong vibe of hesitancy from William, and Isaac could feel it too.
He sat down next to Peter and addressed William.
"William, if something's bothering you, you can tell us. It's okay to talk about anything in this house, okay?"
"Ummm, like.....well....Do you guys always kiss like that?" William blurted out.
"I sure hope so!" Isaac quipped
"Me too!" Peter agreed, and he and Isaac chuckled.
William looked up, confused. "Why?" the boy asked.
"Because Peter is my boyfriend and I love him, William." Isaac explained.
William had a basic idea of sexuality, mainly from watching gender roles of those around him, and even though he had heard of homosexuality, he had only seen stereotypes of it on TV and heard others talk about it. He and his brother were extremely naive and lacked the life experience to understand these things on more than a superficial level, because Claire had intended for her sons to enjoy being boys. She made the same error that most all parents do, in underestimating the rate of change in her children's lives. William and Wesley were very intelligent and were picking up on the same things that the other kids they grew up with were aware of, but they talked to their mother very little about some subjects.
"Does that mean that you guys are....like gay?"
"Yes, it does" Peter said, gently.
"Um, does Timmy know?" William asked with a serious look on his face, the huge squirrel eyes open wide like he was made privy to a closely guarded secret. Instantly Peter, Isaac and Timmy cracked up giggling, and William flinched, not realizing that Timmy had been standing behind him the whole time.
"Yes, Timmy knows!" Timmy said, as the boys continued to giggle. "And Sean too." Timmy put his hands on William's shoulders and gave him a light shake. William smiled briefly, relieved that his question did not offend anyone.
Sean heard the commotion in the kitchen and came in to stand beside Timmy. "It's just a different kind of family I suppose." he said.
"Exactly" Isaac agreed. "There are no secrets here, and we share our problems and our happiness, William."
William thought about this for a while before he asked
"So...Why are some people gay?"
Peter decided to answer. "I don't know why, William. I just know that Isaac and I have always been, and we were probably born this way...I can't explain it. I don't think anyone knows how that works."
"Okay...thanks." William said, softly.
"William, if you ever have questions, just ask and we'll answer as best we can, okay?" Isaac said.
Sean said "Hey William, want to play another game of chess?" William left the table to follow Sean back to the couch, and the two boys sat on each end of the couch and spread the board on the center cushion. Timmy sat on the floor in front of the couch, and watched TV. As the game progressed, Sean and William practiced balancing the captured chess pieces on Timmy's head and shoulders. Eventually they wound up in his lap as he moved and caused them to tumble. He could hear William giggle as he felt the light objects on his hair, and decided to let the little boy have his fun. He desperately needed to enjoy some silliness.
Soon enough, Sean or William, (or both) tired of the game and by this time, Timmy lay on the floor on his stomach, and Sean pounced on him, and began a wrestling match. William eagerly joined in, helping to pin Timmy's feet. The three rolled around on the carpet, and the two bigger boys made sure not to be too rough with William, although they did take full advantage of William's ticklish neck and feet. The boy went absolutely crazy when his ears were touched, much to Timmy and Sean's delight. Soon the three of them were laying on the floor panting, exhausted from exertion.
"William" Isaac said "I think you should try to go to school tomorrow. What do you think?"
William rolled over and sat up. "Can I still go see mom and Wesley?"
"Sure...I'll pick you up from school, we'll go to the hospital for a while and come back here for supper. Timmy, can you and Sean manage when you get home?" Both boys nodded and said
"So that's a plan, then?" Isaac wondered.
"Yup!" William grinned.
"Better get your bath tonight, William, so you don't have to rush with that in the morning."
Since it was getting late, Sean said his goodbyes and left through the patio door. Timmy got up and went down the hall to the guest bath and ran water for William and set a towel on the toilet seat, and William followed Timmy into the bathroom. He took his clothes off, and got in the tub. At his age nudity did not yet have a sexual connotation. William and Wesley often shared a bath, and William was now at ease with Timmy enough to undress in his presence. Molestation without violence often brings feelings of confusion and guilt in victims, because there are sometimes pleasant sensations...how can this feel so good if this is wrong?
Fortunately for William, the experience was more annoying than anything else, and he had never been forced to pleasure his mother's late boyfriend sexually. He resented the man for making his penis sore, and why would anyone want to stick his fingers up somebody's butt? That was just weird and gross...
"Want me to wash your hair, or can you do it yourself?" Timmy asked, as William sat in the warm water.
"Umm, sure" William replied. He enjoyed having his hair washed by his mother, so why not?
"Get your hair all wet." Timmy said, and William put his head between his knees and fanned water over his head. He sat back up and blinked water out of his eyes.
Timmy knelt on the floor next to the tub and poured a dollop of shampoo into his hand.
"Close your eyes....ready?"
"Yup" William replied. Timmy began to run his fingers through William's hair, and the scalp massage felt good. He kept his eyes closed tightly as Timmy made sure all of his hair was saturated with shampoo, and several minutes later Timmy stopped and patted William on the back with a foamy hand.
"OK, rinse your hair out now."
William lay back in the water and managed to get all of his hair wet, rinsing out the shampoo. His penis stuck up like a one inch tall lighthouse on a white beach. William sat back up, and Timmy rubbed soap on his back, in that place one cannot reach by himself. Timmy handed the boy the soap and got up to leave, taking William's clothes out to the laundry.
"When you get out, pick out what you want to wear tomorrow so you don't have to look for stuff in the morning, dude." Timmy said.
"Okay" William replied, as he soaped himself, then rinsed and opened the drain with a bit of difficulty with the stiff control.
Timmy went to his room and stripped to his briefs and got into bed with his latest sci-fi novel from the school library. He had read all the Asimov and Heinlein they had, and moved on to Philip Jose Farmer and some other authors. He began to read, and could hear William drying himself in the bath, then rummaging around in the other room for clothes.
After several minutes, William came into Timmy's room and stood draped in the towel. He watched Timmy for a moment until Timmy looked up.
"William?" Timmy asked, although he knew what William wanted.
"It's kinda cold in that room." William said quietly.
"Want to climb in?" Timmy asked and William nodded, slipping off the towel. "We gotta dry your hair first, dude." Timmy said, taking the towel and rubbing down William's hair as the boy shivered slightly. The house was a bit chilly at the moment. William was glad to get into bed with Timmy, spooning his small smooth back into Timmy's belly.
"Don't you wear anything to bed?" Timmy asked.
"Nope, I usually sleep like this" William replied. Now Timmy understood why William was nude the next morning after his first night at Isaac's house.
"Does Wesley sleep with nothing on, too?" Timmy asked.
"Yup, we both get too hot sometimes at night."
"I used to sleep nude." Timmy said. "I didn't have anything to wear to bed for a long time before I met Isaac..." Timmy said, remembering the way things had been not that long ago.
"Is it true that you didn't have underwear and stuff like that?" William asked.
"Yeah, how did you know about that?" Timmy asked, surprised.
"Because I, ah...I asked Isaac if some bad stuff happened to you, too." William admitted.
Timmy thought about that for a long moment, realizing that William was empathizing with him, forming an attachment.
"You were worried about me?" Timmy wondered.
William's head nodded against Timmy's chest, and Timmy suddenly couldn't find words. He gently stroked William's slightly damp hair before he spoke again.
"You don't have to worry about me, William. I am happier than I have ever been, and this is the safest place I have ever lived. But thank you. It's very nice of you to care about me like that. Things are going to work out for you and your mom and Wesley too, William. It's all going to be better."
William sniffed, and Timmy could tell he was crying quietly. Timmy gripped William tighter in a hug and asked
"Wanna tell me about it?"
"Wh, What happens if mom ...snort! finds another guy and moves him in, and its the same all over again?" William wiped tears out of his eyes.
"That's something that you and Wesley need to talk to your mom about, isn't it?" Timmy suggested. William nodded. He had been thinking the same thing...He fell silent and lay there enjoying the connection of shared experience he felt with Timmy.
Timmy resumed reading his novel as William lay beside him. William lay still for the longest time, and Timmy thought William had fallen asleep. Suddenly,
"Is there....Is something wrong with Isaac's thing?"
Timmy had to think a second about the question before answering the boy.
"Thing...you mean...penis?" Timmy asked, and William blushed and giggled
"Yeah, that" he replied.
"Well, that is what it is called. What makes you think something is wrong with it?" Timmy asked.
"It's like all smooth, and there's no end on it like mine has." William said.
"Oh...well, Isaac isn't circumcised, William." Timmy answered. "When a boy is born, he has a foreskin on his penis and the end you're talking about is inside there and it looks like Isaac's. Sometimes they cut that off, and the boy looks like you do."
"Why do they cut some boys stuff off?" William wondered.
"Sometimes it is for religious reasons, and sometimes the mom and dad just want it done."
"Oh" William said, digesting this. "Are you circussized?" he asked, stumbling on the word.
"Circumcised...No, I'm not."
"Yes. Anything else?"
"Maybe later" William stated, as a matter of fact. Timmy smiled at that and replied
"Okay, I'll be here" as he poked William in the ribs causing the child to giggle. He laid the book down, and turned off the light. Soon they were asleep.
Meanwhile, in Isaac's room, he and Peter had been talking in bed.
"Keith says to meet him at his lawyer's office at ten in the morning, and I should bring you." Peter said.
"Why, I'm not a lawyer...why do you need me?" Isaac wondered.
"He said I needed to bring a witness for something. Are you okay with being a witness?"
"To what, I wonder?" Isaac asked.
"I'm not sure..." Peter admitted.
"It sounds like you will be signing papers, is my guess." Isaac suggested.
"Unless Keith wanted me to bring a witness for him." Peter replied.
"We will find out when we get there, I guess." Isaac answered. He reached for Peter's manhood, which quickly became rigid under Isaac's expert ministrations.
"How about a quickie now, and the real deal in the morning?" Peter suggested.
"Sure" Isaac replied as he took his shorts off and switched positions in the bed to facilitate a 69 session. Several minutes later they had climaxed, and Isaac hopped out of bed to turn off the lights.
The next morning, Timmy decided to shower in the hall bath that William was using, since Peter had stayed over. He got out of bed and woke William, and told him he would start breakfast after his shower, and left the room. Once in the bath, he stepped out of his briefs and started the shower and got in. Timmy heard William pad into the bathroom and relieve his bladder. He peeked past the curtain to glimpse William standing at the sink nude, brushing his teeth. He had a terminal case of bed hair.
"Hey William, you want to get your hair wet so we can comb it?" Timmy asked. William looked at himself in the mirror and decided that was probably a good idea. He turned to the shower and pulled the curtain back to step in, as Timmy backed up to give him room.
He studied Timmy's manhood as he stood under the spray, and took note of the hooded foreskin.
"Your thing doesn't look like mine or Isaac's" William observed. "Why?"
Timmy didn't have the time or desire to explain hypospadias to William, so he simply said
"Nope, we're all different....but that's a good thing, or the world would be real boring. How many boys have you seen without clothes on?"
"Um, you, Wesley and Isaac." William stated.
"Well, as you get older and you see more, you will find they all don't look the same."
William considered this, as he watched Timmy lather his crotch. He sat down in the corner of the tub to give Timmy room to focus the spray on his pubes and rinse his genitalia. He could see a glans shape that differed from the almost perfect acorn that he and Wesley both had, and the nicely centered vertical orifice he was familiar with was nowhere to be found on Timmy's smooth, wide and blunt looking glans. Timmy's foreskin lay across the top of the glans like a thick blanket, and William could see that it tapered back to nothingness as it went down the sides of Timmy's thick penis. Wesley, of course, was tightly cut and had no excess skin whatsoever on his little organ.
All of this took just moments, and William's ten year old brain moved quickly on to other things. He got up off the tub floor, careful not to gore himself on the spout.
Are you looking forward to going to school?"
"Yes...now that I'm not scared Wesley will die, I need something to do." the boy replied.
"It's always good to get back to normal." Timmy agreed. "Let's get out and get dressed."
Isaac and Peter were still in bed as Timmy looked in on them, so Timmy went back the kitchen and made bacon and scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast for him and William. He made enough that Sean, Peter and Isaac could eat when they got around to it.
William would be taking the bus that Timmy rode last year before starting middle school, and he had the bus information card the driver would require ready to go. At about 7:15, he stood in front of the house with William as the bus came down the street.
"Now remember, Isaac will pick you up after school, to go see your mom and Wesley, got it?" Timmy asked.
"Got it" William nodded and put up a hand.
"Good man!" Timmy said, slapping his hand against William's smaller one. William beamed.
Timmy waved to stop the driver, and stepped aboard.
"Hi, Mister Beasley"
"Hi, Timmy. Got a new rider for me?"
"Yes, Sir, this is William Hussmann. He is living with us for a while." Timmy handed the card over, which contained emergency contact information with Isaac and Timmy's address and phone numbers. Beasley put the card in a manila folder that held the vehicle's paperwork. He would file this at the bus office since it contained personal information on a student.
"Okay, same time every day, then" Beasley replied, and Timmy stepped off so William could board.
"Hello, William, my name is Mr. Beasley. You can sit wherever you want."
"You're most welcome, Son." Looking at Timmy, he said "We'll get him there in one piece" and winked.
Timmy waved and watched the bus move off, as Sean came across the yard and flopped his book bag down on the front step. The boys would each catch their own busses to the middle and high school respectively, but they had a while to wait. They went inside to watch TV, and Timmy put coffee on. He couldn't get going without his caffeine. Sean filled a plate with breakfast and went back out to the couch to watch TV, as the sounds of the shower in Isaac's room came on.
It was time for Timmy to go, and he got up and said "Later, dude" to Sean before stepping out the door.
"Later, amigo" Sean replied. He still had time to kill before the high school bus came, so he flipped through channels on TV for a few minutes until Isaac and Peter emerged and came into the kitchen for breakfast.
"So did William get off to school okay?" Isaac asked.
"Timmy put him on the bus just as I came over." Sean replied.
"Good...I hope things go smooth for him today." Isaac said.
"Yeah, me too. He seems to be fine so far." Sean observed.
"Well, I assume he slept okay last night..." Isaac wondered.
"Timmy didn't say nothing to me this morning, so yeah, I guess he's okay." Sean said.
"Well, my bus should be here about now." Sean said, as he bolted off the couch and opened the door. The red lights were flashing about six doors down as students got on the bus, and in minutes Sean was gone.
Peter and Isaac killed time and talked until 9:30, then got in their vehicles and headed uptown to the offices of Keith's lawyer. Neither of them knew what Keith was planning, or why he had asked Peter to bring Isaac with him.
They arrived at five minutes until ten, and found Keith already there. A receptionist waved them into a conference room where Keith was sipping hot coffee and had a stack of folders on the table in front of him.
Peter walked in first and said "Hey" as he sat down.
"Good morning, Pedro" Keith replied. He had nicknamed Peter soon after the boy began working for him, and usually when he called him Pedro, something important was up.
"Hey, Isaac, thanks for coming. Hopefully we won't take too much of your time."
Isaac shook hands with Keith, and replied "Not to worry, I'm taking time off for something else that came up."
"And God bless ya son, for doing what you can for that little boy." Keith was aware that Isaac had taken William in for the time being, and what had happened to the child's family.
They sat down and looked to Keith to tell them what was going on.
"Peter, I'm getting old and thinking about retirement. I have decided to dissolve Atherton's"
Peter sat in his chair looking stunned. "Uh, um you mean like sell it off, kind of dissolve...?"
Keith paused so he could enjoy this for the maximum effect. "Finito, Donesville, Over and out and gone..." He looked at the boys and drummed his fingers on the table. Peter thought the bottom was going to fall out of his stomach. He swallowed hard and tried to keep it together.
"Uh, okay...when is my last day....sir?"
Keith leaned across the table and flipped a business card in front of Peter. "How the hell should I know? That's up to you, Pedro."
Peter looked at the card. It looked like every other business card for the store that Peter had given out, except this one didn't list Keith as sole owner and proprietor. Instead, Peter's name was also on the card, placed over the title "Owners" of Atherton's, next to Keith's.
"K- Keith, what is this?" Peter stumbled.
"We are going to reorganize...the old business is dissolved, and we are filing articles of incorporation as a new entity, and that's why we are here today. You now own half the store, and in a few minutes and some signatures, it will all be legal."
"I...I don't know what to say, Keith...are you sure about this?"
"Yup, I am. Peter, you have always treated that store like it was your own. I have literally trusted you with everything I own for the last three years...I have watched you when you didn't think I was around. I saw you dust shelves and repaint the front and counter and do all sorts of things employees don't do without being told. You poured your heart and your time into the place, and I sometimes worried about your lack of a social life because of it...I felt guilty sometimes, because you're only young once and you should have been out having fun and doing things other boys do."
Peter looked down at the table.
"I know a little bit about all that too, Peter. That's why I asked you to bring Isaac today to witness our signatures on all this legal shit...I know you love him and would want him to be with you for this...hopefully you two will be together for a long time to come."
Peter turned scarlet. He thought he had managed to keep his work and private lives separate.
"You knew?" he asked.
"I put it together a while back, yeah." Peter just sat there taking this in...He knew I was gay all along?..
What Peter didn't know is that Keith heard a lot of those dinner time phone calls Peter got from Isaac, and knew his young employee ate a lot of meals at Isaac's. He also knew that Peter spent nights at Isaac's house after those meals...something confirmed after Isaac answered Peter's phone by mistake only half awake. The time it took Isaac to hand the phone to Peter indicated to Keith that they were in the same bed. Peter had never dated any females, talked about them or brought any by the store, as one would expect if an employee were dating and had an active social life. On the other hand, Peter sent the signals of someone in love when he talked about Isaac. Peter was nothing but good old all-American boy next door, but the little changes in his eyes and smile when Isaac was on his mind spoke volumes. Keith had picked up that Peter was in love with Isaac a long time ago, but never had any reason to bring the subject up. He had just decided that as long as Peter was happy and functional, it wasn't a subject that needed to be brought up.
"I figured you would tell me if you ever needed to talk about it, Peter"
Keith paused, then veered off on another subject...he was good at that. Too many details, and too little time, Peter often thought when it came to his boss.
"Oh, there's something else...I started a little investment account long before I ever met you to provide a retirement for anyone I hired who stuck with me. These goddamn kids came and went, and none of 'em was worth a shit, so it just sat there accruing a little bit each month. It's yours now, Pedro."
"Gee, Keith..." Peter was unable to speak at the moment.
"No, you earned every bit of it, son...So that's it. You're my succession plan if you want the place, kid."
"But you're not ready to retire like tomorrow or something, right?" Peter wondered.
"Of course not...but the point of all this is to be prepared, so when I decide to, every thing is a done deal...it also means that everything is taken care of and in order if anything happens to me before I retired."
Peter fidgeted and said "I don't like to think about those things."
"Son, you got to think about those things...there is a reason for the way we do everything at Atherton's."
"I know" Peter responded. He thought of the security precautions he and Keith practiced for armed robberies and other eventualities. Keith never put Peter in the position of handling the receipts of the store. A scheduled armored car pickup was cheap compared to having an employee murdered over a night deposit.
"Peter, I don't have children...Me and the ex gave it ten years of trying before we split... so if I died now, the place would have to be sold and liquidated for taxes and all that horseshit...Making you a partner is the next best thing I got to leaving the business to an heir."
Peter sat and blinked back tears. He was overwhelmed and this was as close as Keith in all his gruff glory could get to telling Peter how he felt about him...this was as if the king was laying his kingdom at the feet of the son he never had...
"Shit...." Peter said, wiping his eyes. "Does this mean I have to wear ties now?" he asked, clearly joking.
"No, but now you can fuck with those damned fire inspectors" Keith deadpanned, as the lawyer's paralegal stuck her head in.
"Are we ready to begin?" She asked.
"Yes, ma'am we certainly are" Keith replied, and she sat down and began describing the documents she was passing across the table, and indicated where the signatures went. At the back of each stack was a page for the notary and witness signatures. In about an hour, new articles of incorporation were filed for Atherton's Auto Parts and its ownership change, the IRA had been assigned to Peter, and Keith's lawyer had given Peter a crash course on trusts. Keith's assets were owned by Atherton's so essentially he had no estate to probate, now that Atherton's was incorporated under two owners. Keith had taught Peter his system of accounting, and Peter could keep the books as well as Keith did. Keith had also begun to show Peter how to file the quarterly business and sales taxes. After today, Peter was legally responsible for the accuracy of these filings...he was no longer just an employee. Shortly after Peter had started there, he met all the folks in the supply chain, and had forged his own friendships and contacts by handling the inventory and stock reorders. The first year Peter was there, Keith hired a crew that inventoried the local supermarket to audit the store, and adjusted all the miscounts and errors found, which could be counted on both hands. Peter then took over the stock control duties, and the next annual inventory had no discrepancies. Keith gave Peter a large increase a few days after that inventory was finished.
At 11 o'clock, they were finished, and Keith stood to leave. He had to get back to the store, and Peter had classes that afternoon. Isaac and Peter walked out to the parking spaces behind the lawyer's office and Peter said
"I'm still not sure that all really just happened."
"Oh, it happened, all right. I think I just bought an island with all the stuff I signed." Isaac joked.
"Thanks for doing this" Peter said as he gave Isaac a hug. "I love you, stud"
"I love you too...now that you be all rich and shit" Isaac teased.
"Uh huh...remember, I've seen the books" Peter replied. "Keith isn't spending his summers on the French Friggin' Riviera."
Isaac stood close to Peter and pinched gently where he imagined the head of Peter's penis was in his shorts at the moment "I'd love to see your hard assets, too" Isaac leered.
"Jeez, save that for later on, horn-doggy...I want to jump your bones but I gotta get lunch before class." With that, Peter kissed Isaac and got in the yellow Datsun and sped off for Technical College.
Isaac had to get to classes as well, and make it past the school to pick William up for a trip to the hospital. Peter would more than likely go home tonight and let his father go over the papers he signed today, and have him explain any of the fine points he didn't understand.
William was waiting at the curb as Isaac pulled up, and the boy got in the car and fought with the seat belt for a moment until Isaac could help him by holding slack in the belt as William stabbed the latch with the belt tongue, and succeeded at last.
"How did it go, Champ?" Isaac asked.
"Everybody asked me about Wesley and when is he coming back and stuff" William replied.
"Sounds like he has a lot of friends, right?" Isaac asked.
"Must be millions, or at least hundreds, I guess" William said, staring out the sunroof as Isaac drove. "My mom's car don't have one of these" William observed as he put his hand on the sunroof frame and let the wind blow his thin little fingers back.
"What would happen if I stuck my head out and we're going really fast?" William asked, clearly enjoying being a ten year-old.
"First, you would be out of your seat belt, mister....second, if you get hit by a big grasshopper at 70 miles an hour, it would probably break your nose or give you a black eye." Isaac said, watching William's reaction with a grin.
"Hey William, what's the last thing that goes through a bug's mind when he hits the windshield?" Isaac asked.
William thought for a few seconds before giving up.
"His ass" Isaac deadpanned and William giggled for a long time at the joke. He decided he didn't want to stand up through the sunroof after all...
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