Life on the Farm

by Joe Writer Man

Chapter 11

Although, still, very much excited about the trip, being on the ocean, and being in good company, the day's travels caught up to us, sending our little entourage into the coach where Seth and I were urged to shower and get ready for bed.

The shower was small, very small, really, truly meant for one person... but... somehow we managed. You see, it was then when we could truly explore our bodies by washing the other person. Seth and I lingered and extended all sense of 'what is normal' when it came to washing our private areas, and let me tell you what... we enjoyed and reveled each passing moment.

Tony stuck his head into the tiny cramped restroom and reminded us to not use all the water, that he and Adam needed to shower, too.

Squeaky clean, and satiated, too, Adam, then Tony took their showers. We got into a game of Spades, but, then, "tired", took over sending us to bed. The rig had a large over the driver and passenger seats queen size bed. That was where Seth and I were expected to sleep.

With arms and legs and torsos enveloped... the next thing we knew was that it was morning. I needed to pee like a race horse, so I disentangled my way out of our cocoon and headed into the bathroom where I relieved those full bladder sensations.

Seth, with his fully elongated tool leading his way, entered the bathroom just as I was leaving. Adam and Tony were outside fixing up breakfast on Coleman stoves. My goggles were lying on the dining like table. I put them on then joined them outside the rig. Both looked up, smiled, and went back to their duties.

Soon, Seth exited the vehicle and suggested we take a short walk down the beach. We'd go only so far, so that my hip didn't bother me. My hip felt fine, in fact, our first night on the beach brought absolutely no discomfort, even from the incision.

Along the way, possibly 1000 yards away, we started seeing lots and lots of sea shells – some large, but, mostly, they were small. We kept walking, and made the agreement that we'd pick up several of the shells on our way back. Speaking of going back, we stopped our adventure away from the rig and returned. Adam and Tony had already eaten... we didn't realize that we'd been gone over an hour. Tony went into the rig and returned with two platefuls of food, sat them down on a card-table for us to eat to our hearts' content. The food was wonderful. I'd never eaten food that had been prepared outside. It had a 'different' taste to it – fucking awesome, to be perfectly honest.

The sun was out in full force and effect. Though the radiance from it was very, very hot, the cool breeze provided a nice contrast.

When we finished breakfast, Tony handed Seth a large family size tube of sun screen, and told us to put ample quantities on our bodies so we didn't get sunburned. He said a Caucasian person could get sunburned in no time. We had fun coating our faces, shoulders, chests, and backs with the oily stuff, and then seeing that my member was fully elongating, Seth took me behind the rig, and gave me a 'special treatment' to the area down south of my navel. Once I'd had my 'moment' (or two), without hesitation, and with a firm resolve in my heart and mind, he made his way into my inner sanctum where he released a torrent of adolescent nectars. Once we were fully satiated, to clean things up, we headed into the ocean and played in the surf, happy and carefree, with not a worry in the world. To say that I was having a blast would definitely be an understatement.

About an hour and a half later Adam joined us. He had concern written all over his face. It was then that he told us to comb the beach and look for our camp site. It was nowhere in sight. He said that we'd floated and had been pushed at least a mile down the beach. He said the tide had done it. Not to forget that we'd not been paying any attention to where we were, or where we were going.

We got out of the water and walked back to camp via the very, very soft sanded beach until we arrived back, picking up sea shells along the way, of course.

Upon arrival, we noticed that camp had been broken. Both Adam and Tony urged us to get into the rig, that we had yet another adventure to experience. When inside the rig, Tony said that we needed to at least put on a pair of shorts since we were going to be around other earthlings, for a time.

Somehow, Tony negotiated the soft sand to get us turned around and back on the main road leading into and out of the beach where we'd stayed. He said, upon my inquiry, that we 'may' return to our camp spot later that night, but then again maybe we wouldn't, that he and Adam had some plans that they thought we might like.

Since they'd been 'so secretive' throughout the entire trip, there was no need to ask where we were headed.

About an hour later we pulled into a large parking lot. The signs read "Port of Corpus Christi". There were yachts and boats of all sizes and shapes, everywhere. After telling me and Seth to sit tight, that they'd be right back, they exited the vehicle and walked to a building at the other end of the parking lot.

Seth grinned, smacked his lips, and then without so much as an invitation or offer, pulled down the front of my shorts and underwear…

An hour later, we were underway out into the Gulf of Mexico, in the boat, with it going full steam ahead, negotiating the swells and surf, swaying us from side to side and fore and aft, which my stomach did not like. Urgently, knowing that breakfast was going to be a thing of the past, I got up from the seat, walked to the rail, leaned over and tossed my cookies into the ocean, not once, but twice. After that, I was fine, and experienced no further stomach upsets.

Way the hell away from any signs of humanity, we stopped, just like that, we stopped in the middle of God only knew where. After putting down anchor, Tony fetched life jackets for all of us to put on, and to not take off so long as we were outside on the deck.

Adam dropped a rope ladder from off the side into the water. He smiled, and then dove into the ocean, head first. He soon surfaced. He was grinning like a Cheshire cat and urged us to join him. Now, I wasn't all that excited about diving in as he did, but, Seth and Tony dove off the side of the boat, leaving me standing and watching them frolic about. I did not want to dive in, so, with some difficulty, I negotiated down the rope ladder, but didn't swim out to them because doing that ladder did cause my hip to hurt. I kind of thought it might do that, so, I wasn't surprised when it did.

Adam swam to where I was hovering very close to the ladder, took hold of my arms and gently led me to where Tony and Seth were heavily engaged in a splash fest.

Then the most amazing thing that I'd ever seen to that point in time, happened. Seth's eyes got bigger than major big saucers, and then he was lifted out of the water, and tossed no less than 10 feet away through the air, and then the hugest water animal I'd ever seen did a back flip, landing no further away than 15 feet. The fucker was huge. By the sounds of its 'glee' I could easily tell that it was a dolphin of the huge variety!

Seth, having his wits back about him, returned to us, exclaiming all the while what a rush that had been. It was then that Tony was picked up and tossed no less than 10 feet into the air... and that damn dolphin was having a blast! Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.

While we were laughing our collective asses off, Adam was then picked up and tossed, likewise. And so it went... but... the sea creature left me alone other than nudging my legs every now and again. Apparently, and I only realized it in hindsight, the dolphin knew that it would not be good for me if I were flipped about like that.

After flipping them here and there four or five times, the dolphins left, just as quickly as they'd arrived. That experience, seeing them flipped all over the place, was probably the highlight of the entire trip out on the boat.

We stayed out there on the boat, away from all humanity, for 2 full days. On the morning of the second, our last day out there, while out in the ocean, off the boat, one of the dolphins urged its nose between my legs, tossed its head back in such a way that I was securely on its head, and took me for a ride. I laid face down on its broad expansive back and just enjoyed whatever it was going to do with me. I held my arms around its muzzle, or whatever its face and beak (or something) is called, and enjoyed myself immensely.

Twenty or thirty minutes later, the dolphin returned to the boat and urged me off. To say I was stoked would definitely be a disservice. After flipping Seth one more time, no less than 10 feet into the air, it was gone.

That evening, we all noticed dark billowing clouds on the far southern horizon. It was then that we put everything together and headed to shore, not wanting to experience a storm in the relatively small boat of Adam's. We arrived at the marina just before sunset, got the boat hooked on to the rig, and then Tony took us to a little park adjacent to the marina and parked. Off in the distance, we could see muffled branches of light from the direction we had returned from, then within 2 hours, the storm was fast approaching land, where we were staying.

Adam, intimately knowing my stark raving fear of storms, stayed close by, and made himself available, should I have needed him. Although he didn't say anything, his eyes were inviting and reassuring that all would be okay. The very last thing in the world that I wanted to convey to all concerned was that I was petrified of storms, any kind of storm with lightning and thunder involved.

Tony, not knowing of my fear, mentioned that the storm was going to be a motherfucker, which did nothing to allay my rising anxiety. Very soon after his making that statement, the wind came up and was quite strong, and cold, too. Quickly, Seth and Tony had camp broken and entered the rig where Adam and I were quietly talking about nothing in particular. I was sitting very close to him, arm in arm, practically on his lap, as the wind picked up. No sooner had they entered the rig when the storm hit with full force and effect. The wind got so strong that it caused the rig to slightly sway with each passing gust. Adam put his arms around my shoulders and pulled me in close to him. Tony and Seth looked at us with curiosity... with trepidation and fully fledged anxiety coursing through my veins, I said, "I don't do storms very well, do I Adam?"

Just then a brilliant flash of light crashed through the sky, and the thunder following it, almost immediately, shook the entire rig. I was in Adam's lap in a nanosecond, or less.

He picked me up and carried me into the rear bedroom, closed the door, and then laid down with me in bed, and then pulled me deeply, protectively, into his body and held on tight as the storm hit with a vengeance that I'd never before experienced, yet, at the same time, I felt safe and protected. Adam kept reassuring me that we'd be fine, that the storms on and near the ocean were exceptionally fierce, but that we'd be okay. At some point in time, perhaps when the initial brunt of the storm passed... the next thing I knew was that it was early morning, the sun was out, and all was well.

As I awoke from the cocoon of sleep, I turned in such a way, and saw and felt a pair of very dark arms holding me close. Seth was deep asleep, yet the feeling of being held firmly and pleasantly was not forgotten, nor to be ignored. Even when I changed positions to face him his deep, rhythmical breathing changed not one iota. Unable to stop myself, I leaned in and softly kissed his lips, and then fell back to sleep, despite an urgent need to pee.

My next awareness was my lips being touched by something very soft. At first it was all a dream, but when my mind became aware of reality, I realized I was being kissed with rose petal touches. I flipped my arm around the source of those pleasant sensations, and joined in happy harmony. I fully popped my eyes open when majorly big pleasant sensations from my penis totally filled my mind and spirit. Very slightly I opened my legs as they were being gently pushed apart, and then Seth kissed my lips hungrily one last time before he headed south along my neck, chest, and belly. He lingered for quite some time at my navel, lapping, with his tongue, deep inside my innie, and then he headed fully south and engulfed that which designates me as male... and soon, thereafter, flailing and panting heavily, I experienced the most sensational trip to those distant planets.

Once recovered, a recovery I thought would never ever arrive; I lifted my legs and then urged Seth to enter me fully and completely. I hoped against all hope that squeezing my butt muscles firmly would bring Seth to a successful completion, better than and further than he'd taken me. By all accounts and purposes, and by all sounds and muffled screams, I had no doubt that he did, indeed, enjoy the ride.

No sooner had he emptied his nectars than I absolutely had to get up and pee in the bathroom, else the bed was going to be major wet. There was an ocean to get wet in, after all.

Once I was all finished taking care of 'both' needs, Seth joined me in the shower, at which time we quickly but adequately washed each others' bodies, without playing around as we usually did.

Naked, we entered the kitchen area. Tony and Adam were enjoying a cup of coffee. When we appeared they both smiled and urged us to sit with them, which we did.

"Did anything wake you up?" Adam asked caringly.

"Nope... I slept like a rock." I explained honestly, casually.

Adam snickered, and then said, "I think your fear of storms is in the past, young man. At about 2:30 this morning, we had an even worse storm than when we went to bed. It was fierce, much like I'd never before seen or experienced. You didn't move a muscle when I got up, came in here where Tony and I stayed up for most of the night, watching and waiting."

"Why don't you boys go get dressed? I think we've earned a good meal in a restaurant, then we'll decide what to do today." Tony said, rubbing his tummy.

Mine rumbled and grumbled... so did Seth's... and even Adam's gave out a big gurgle.

Seth asked, "Dad, can we go back to the deserted island? That was really, really kewl."

"No, I'm afraid not... not today anyway. The sand will be way too wet and … well, it will be like quicksand. Let's head up the coast today, maybe we'll hit Galveston Island... we're really in no hurry to go anywhere... 'chill out' is the name of the game."

His idea met with wide approval. Soon, we were on the road, found a nice restaurant where we scarfed on authentic breakfast burritos, and where we experienced true southern hospitality. Those people were so nice...

We arrived in Galveston at about noon. Tony filled the rig with fuel and water, then emptied the holding tank, checked the oil and other assorted and sundry mechanical things, and once assured that everything was ready to go, we headed to the deserted side of the city, or island, actually.

It was fucking awesome. No sooner had we arrived than our clothes found the floor, then naked and ready for adventure we went swimming in the calm waters, and had a blast. That section of the coast was much, much cooler at night. After our showers, we actually got dressed in sweat shirts and pants, enjoyed steaks and baked potatoes cooked to perfection over coals in a camp fire. Although totally clear, the breeze picked up and nearly froze me to death, at which time we went into the rig, played a game of Cribbage, and then headed to bed, and immediately fell asleep.

The following morning was one when I awoke Seth from a sound sleep, much like he'd done for me every morning before then.

Dressed and ready to go, Seth asked Tony, "Dad, can we go back to the shore where we parked the first night?"

Tony replied, "We were thinking of heading to New Orleans... spend a day or two there, and then return... what do you say?" I marveled at the thought of Tony actually asking his son for his opinion... that was something very new to me... before it was always "Do fucking this", "Do fucking that", "Don't say a fucking word..." and so on and so forth. I watched them bicker back and forth, and as I've said before, the 'rent won.

Adam had been there before, so he was able to show us around to various sites that he had held important on his previous travels, yet, he had kind of a melancholy settle over his demeanor. I took him aside at an excellent seafood restaurant... he'd always been available to me.... so.... I thought I'd make myself available to him, however, he didn't want to talk about what was bothering him.

That night, Seth and Adam were readying the rig for sleep when Tony took me aside and explained what was going on with Adam – you see, New Orleans was the place where Marlena and Aaron, Adam's family had gone just before they'd died in a car accident on the freeway leading out of New Orleans. It had happened a few years before our trip there.

That night, I slept with Adam and held him protectively. He wasn't sure what to think of that, yet, he didn't push me away either. I didn't tell him that I knew what had happened, yet I think he knew, all at the same time. He didn't say anything. Neither did I.

The following morning, after eating a wonderful Cajun spiced breakfast, and after deciding there were too many people around, we headed back to Mustang Island where we spent the next 4 days, not wearing a stitch of clothing, at any time. It was then when I decided I could be a naturist at all times. By the morning of our last day, while taking our shower, my skin appeared almost as dark as Seth's... well, not quite... but you should probably catch my drift, by now.

From there, we took off for San Antonio where we were going to see the Alamo and the missions. Tony was really up tight and irritable because of the fucking traffic and few places to park the monster vehicle. Finally, after not finding anywhere to park, he said fuck it. Adam, however, talked Tony down, suggested we get a motel, rent a vehicle and return to enjoy the rest of the day, since it was one of the places they had covertly planned to visit (without us knowing about it, of course. Mum's the word had been their favorite 'saying' since we'd taken off on the trip).

That worked out well. We visited the Alamo and then walked the River Walk of shops, restaurants, people, places, and things. The missions were exceptionally boring; however, Adam and Tony were highly intrigued by their age, architecture, historical significance, and peaceful surroundings. After the 3rd such mission visit, Seth and I were permitted to stay alone in the rig while they went adventure hunting for the next 3 to 4 hours, or so.

As you may have guessed, Seth and I made good use of our time alone.

Relaxed and satiated we walked to a park close by where we enjoyed just being together, feeding the ducks and squirrels and an occasional chip-monk or something critter, whatever it was called.

As we were quietly sitting around, I said, "I didn't know that life could be this good. Where have I been?"

"Me either. This is the first trip my dad and I have been on... I'm having hella fun. And, James, I have had so much more fun because you're here to share it. I don't know, but, I seem to be making sense of what it took to get here... you know... we had fucked up lives... until someone actually came along who gives a flying fuck."

I scooted into Seth's side, urged his arm into mine... I was waiting for him to talk about his past in the same way he'd listened to mine, but, he didn't say anything about it, instead, he would start talking about something totally apart from his past life.

"Seth, you've listened to me... I'd like to get to know you better... if you want to talk about what happened to get you here; I'm all ears... seriously."

He put his arm around my waist, leaned in... I leaned in at the same time... and we kissed our lips together, tenderly, anxiously, wantonly, but, just for a moment - our moment was interrupted by hearing someone yell, "Fucking faggots! Jesus fucking Christ... and a nigger at that."

Quickly, we turned around, just in time to see a group of kids approaching us from up the hill. Quickly, we broke apart but stayed together, not knowing what was going to happen next. Seth tensed up, looked into my eyes... the hurt in them was clear and convincing. And fear, too. Lots and lots of fear was emanating from them. I wasn't afraid, though. I was pissed that they were taking our moment away, and especially because they were frightening my best friend.

I got up, despite Seth putting a finger in my belt loop and urging me to sit down, then walked to the biggest guy, a kid of maybe 15 years old. The look in his eyes was menacing. The rest of them circled around, and two of the guys walked toward Seth with their fists raised.

It was then that I heard Adam shouting for them to get away from us. In a flash he was on the scene just as the guy I was standing in front of doubled up his fist and sent it my way, knocking me to the ground. Tony arrived, and literally tossed the guy like he was paper Mache to the ground, then stood between us, while Adam attended to Seth who had been literally punched in the gut, thus knocking the wind from his lungs. One of the other boys lunged at Tony... the kid, too, found himself on the ground, and face down in the dirt.

That was all there was to that... the boys all got up, the ones that had been on the ground, anyway, and took off toward the entrance to the park.

Seth, meanwhile, sat down on the park bench, put his head in his hands, and looked to the ground as if it held some secret for only him to know. With Adam's help, I got up off the ground. Both Tony and Adam began asking me if I was okay, but, all I could see, at that point in time, was Seth's demeanor, and how he seemed defeated, completely.

Ignoring their questioning, I walked to Seth, sat down, pulled him into my arms and held on tightly, hoping against all hope that he was feeling the love I was giving to him... the same love that he'd shown me during my 'moments'.

All I could think of saying was, "I'm sorry."

With tremendous sadness, and yes, even a tinge of anger, Seth said to his dad, "When is it going to end?"

Tony walked to his son, pulled him up and into his arms, held on tightly, and whispered, "Not until there are no more ignorant people around in the world. Come on, let's go for a walk."

Just as they were getting ready to walk away, Seth, not really sure that he wanted to go anywhere, looked back... our eyes met, he said, "No, James, I'm the one who's sorry you had to experience..."

I walked to Seth and Tony. Tony said, 'James, it's a long story. If you'll excuse me, Seth and I need to talk... okay, please?"

I nodded. Adam walked over, put his arms around my shoulders, and said, "We need to talk also... just us."

I looked into his eyes, and once again, saw the love and concern deeply etched in his being. I nodded, looked to Seth who had turned to watch our interaction... without so much as a second thought, I closed the distance between us, and despite his mild protest because of fear, I reached in, patted his butt, and then kissed his lips, briefly. I squeezed his ass cheek, kissed him quickly, once again, and then joined Adam while Seth and his dad walked away.

Adam and I sat at the picnic table. Adam proceeded to tell me Seth's story of being bullied, attacked, beaten, made fun of, exploited, and put on display, all the while being tied to a tree, when he was only 12 years old. Adam told me that Seth had run away, lived on the streets for about a year, and did what he had to do in order to survive a cold, cruel world.

I asked, "Where were his parents? ... His dad should have kicked their asses, at the very least... I mean, I'd never let my kids experience that … and those assholes would have paid for it!"

Adam said, "James, his parents were, in a lot of ways, just like yours. They really didn't want the responsibilities of raising a child, yet they had 3 other girls, all older than Seth. His parents are also of mixed heritage... so they were dealing with their own problems of being a mixed race couple. I'm not making excuses for them... I'm just telling you where Seth comes from, and how his experiences in life have shaped him into who he is today. Tony has worked so hard to build Seth up, to let him know that, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the boy is loveable and capable of loving, that he has a right to be safe, and to live and survive in the world, happily. James, will you tell me what... oh my, shoot, I don't want to sound like you two had anything to do with them doing what they did..."

Sensing where he was going with that, sensing that we, Seth and I, had anything to do with getting attacked, I said, "We kissed, Adam. We'd been talking, and well, we just, it just happened..."

Adam nodded then said, "You boys did nothing wrong... you guys do need to be more discrete with your affections... not everybody, as you have and will find out, are all loving and understanding... I'm sorry, James, this is just the way the world is. Maybe someday people will be more tolerant of our differences... I can only hope. Come on, let's go to the rig. Tony and Seth will be back before long. They need their time together, alone."

As we walked to the coach, Adam asked, "Did you get hurt? Is your hip okay? Your eyes – are they okay?"

"My leg hurts, but nothing like Seth's heart is aching..."

The rest of the trip to the vehicle was silent, save for the sounds of birds doing bird things, crickets doing cricket things, leaves doing leaf things while being blown and tossed around, sticks and other ground things being ground by shoes walking along.

An hour or so passed before Tony and Seth arrived. Seth sat down next to me, pulled my arm into his chest, looked up, and said, "I'm sorry, James. I'm really sorry. I was hoping against all hope that you'd never have to see that kind of stuff happen in your lifetime. Me... Well, I'm pretty used to it..."

Tony regarded me carefully, intently. He said to Adam, "Let's leave the boys alone... boy's we'll be right outside. There's no hurry... talk as long as you need to... like I said, we'll be right outside."

With that said, and without delay, they exited the rig. I watched them walk to the picnic table and sit down.

Not knowing what else to say, I said, "Seth, it's not your fault. It's not my fault either. Adam just says that we need to be more discrete. You know, we can't go around sucking face... but, ya know what?

Seth looked into my eyes... he was waiting for whatever it was that would come out of my mouth... instead of saying anything I reached over, pulled his shoulders forward... and sucked his face with all the care and concern that I could muster at the time. At first, he mildly resisted but then got into it. No, our kiss, our holding each other, was not lust filled, nor outwardly sexual, instead, we connected in the quiet silence, save for occasional lip smacking as we would part, briefly, then come back together. Oh, I won't go so far as to say that no ardor was present, because there was, as evidenced by the tenting of our shorts, but that was but a byproduct of our moment, together, alone.

Feeling safe, Seth told me his story, including the tree incident. Sometimes he cried, sometimes he gave a wistful smile, and sometimes, it took him a little while to continue, and at other times his story came out quickly.

His dad, Tony, had found Seth wandering around the campgrounds at Grand Lake of the Cherokees, in Oklahoma, looking and scavenging for food left behind by campers. He wasn't there for very long, thankfully. He and Tony hit it right off. There was quite a custody battle between Tony and Seth's parents, yet, in the end, before it went to court, they gave Tony sole custody of their son, and Seth was overjoyed because Tony was able to give him the love and understanding his parents had been incapable of providing.

Once the emotional experience had somewhat passed, Seth grinned and said, "Dad said we can spend the last 4 days of our vacation wherever we want to be... I was thinking of..."


Four hours later, our naturally dark and tanned bodies, naked, were frolicking around off the boat in the ocean playing with a bunch of crazy dolphins.

Holdings for provisions is not very much on Adam's boat, so, late on the 2nd day we took off for the marina, hooked up the boat and took off back to Mustang Island where we spent the next two days picking up sea shells, including the skeletal remains of 3 starfish, playing in the surf, enjoying quiet time under the shade of a canopy tent Adam and Tony erected to protect us from the blistering hot sun rays, all too common in the afternoons.

My hair, which had been kind of a shade of dark blond had turned bleach white blond from all the time spent in the ocean water and from being exposed to the bright sun. That and my dark bronzed skin provided quite a contrast. Even my penis was golden brown, except for the underneath side where it normally resides lying on top of, or in front of, whatever, my balls. Seth 'examined' me carefully, looking under my balls, around my hole, and the area between them... and as expected, they weren't tanned, at all.

Seth, meanwhile, was much darker than his usual chocolate colored skin. Like me, he had a definite contrast behind and underneath his private domains.

That night, after steak and crabs for dinner, and our showers, we lounged around, not wanting to stay inside but not wanting to go back outside (the wind was blowing like crazy which would have required yet another shower, however, water provisions were running low), we ended up getting into a lively game of Scrabble, with no holds barred for Seth and me.

Seth and I had ran out of lube the night before which prevented him entering to scratch that itch way up inside of my back door, although, after a time, my hole did permit his finger to enter. Between his finger stimulating deep inside and his expert oral cavern doing its thing... wowie! He, too, was well rewarded in the sexual department from me doing to same thing to him.

The following day, at about noon, Tony stopped to fuel up in south Oklahoma City in preparation for our last leg home. Normally, we would have taken I-35 north into Wichita; however, Seth and I were very, very surprised when Tony took the I-44 exit heading east.

Seth, curious, as was I, was elected the spokesperson, asked his dad, "Dad, aren't we going the wrong way?"

Tony replied, with a high degree of parental 'authority', "Nope, just sit back and relax." And then, chuckling, continued, "Mum's the word."

Adam said, "This is an adventure filled with surprises and new things to see and do. We'll be arriving long after nightfall, so, sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery."

Despite several attempts to gain information from they who were the adults, they maintained mum is the word stance, not giving in one iota, though we noticed that Tony 'had the hammer down', as the saying goes. The posts and mile marker signs flew by. We passed several signs indicating Lake of the Ozarks at the next exit. My heartbeat stepped up a few notches, thinking that we'd get to stop at some more water, however, Tony kept the rig flying east bound down the highway, as darkness quickly overcrowded the atmosphere.

I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew was Adam saying our names and telling us to look straight ahead, that there was something we probably wanted to see. Wobbling quite a bit, Seth took Adam's side of the rig rear passenger seats while I took Tony's … and there ahead of us – was – The Arch - we were in St. Louis! Holy shit, the fucking Arch... yeah!

Adam, meanwhile, was busily searching the screen on the laptop for camping areas. There was a KOA camping place about 50 miles east of St. Louis on I-70. When he called them we were assured they had, and would hold, a spot for our rig.

By the time we'd arrived and had everything set up it was well past midnight. Tony looked trashed tired, so we put him to bed, and then followed not too long after that, after we'd hit the restrooms, took a 'real' shower and a 'real' shit on a regular toilet with ample supplies of running water. Having lost any real modesty, without getting dressed, I headed to the sink with my toothbrush and tooth paste when two guys, about 17 years old, entered and headed into individual stalls to take care of business. Seth had forgotten his toothbrush so he used mine. The two guys, too, were unashamed of their bodies and entered one shower stall – together after dressing down to the skin. One of the guys said, "Don't, I'll get hard! You silly person! Oh... stop that... Derrick... I'm... there's people out there for kahrist sakes." Then he said, "You guys... don't mind us... Derrick... geezus..."

Seth smiled and winked, "That's okay, we understand!"

When we exited the combination restroom shower room a man came walking up... knowing what was going on 'back there' I mentioned a little lie, and said, "Give them a few minutes... the restroom is being cleaned." We stuck with the man until the two guys walked out of the restroom. The guys smiled and waved as they headed to the other side of the campground. A good deed never hurts anybody.

Sleep found our asses really quick that night. No hanky panky, only a chaste kiss, a plop on the pillow, and immediate unconsciousness prevailed.

The following day arrived with crisp clear air and sunshine. I looked at the clock; it read 8:30am. Seth was immediately wide awake. He smiled and softly kissed my lips then jumped down onto the floor with a thud which woke the 'rents. He giggled then headed into the bathroom to take care of morning needs. I, of course, got down much more slowly, using the ladder type thing. After Seth exited, I did my thing, and then Adam did his, and then Tony did his.

Soon, we were all packed up and ready to go. I walked to the restrooms to take a hella dump when one of the two guys we'd met the night before, entered the restroom. He smiled, somewhat sheepishly.

I took care of business, quite noisily to say the least.

Finished, wiped, and my shorts back up I exited the stall after flushing. The guys were exiting the shower as I washed my hands. They both smiled, sheepishly, went about drying off and putting their own shorts on. I was finished with the tasks at hand, exited the restroom, found a tree to stand under, and waited for them. I wanted to say hi.

A couple of minutes later, they exited. The one boy pointed at me, then they walked over. The dude that had talked to me introduced himself as Chad. His 'person of interest' was Aaron. They were 16 and 17 years old, respectively.

After some idle chit-chat, Chad said, "I'm… uhm… sorry about last night… well…" He looked to Aaron. Aaron continued, "We're together." Then he stepped back, like I was going to hurt him, or something.

I smiled, "No trouble… I think it's kewl… Seth and I aren't brothers… but we're friends… and well… I guess we're together, too."

"Where are you headed… uhm, I don't know your name, sorry." Aaron said.

I'd completely forgotten all my manners… remembering the few manners I'd picked up along the way… "James. James Talley. My hunk's name is Seth. Where are you guys headed?"

"Kansas City. We need to be going. It was nice to meet you… uhm, we're sorry about last night…"

"No problem. Seth and I took care of our own matters…" I said, chuckling.

We bumped knuckles, they took off, and so did I.

After spending most of the day seeing the Arch… oh yeah, we went to the top in clickity, clankity rail cars; we headed for Kansas City, where I had an appointment the next day to see the eye and orthopedic doctors to follow up on the operations.

We stopped at and stayed in a hotel on the fringes of Kansas City. The room they'd chosen had 2 king size beds. When it came time to choose beds, Adam looked at Tony curiously. Tony also had a curious look on his face – like – are we going to actually sleep together? Both looked quite uncomfortable – until Seth undressed to his underwear, tore down the covers, got in and looked at his dad.

I did the same thing with Adam... I pulled the covers down to indicate he was expected to sleep with me.

My eye doctor was not pleased, at all, to hear that I'd been out in the bright sunlight for most of the time since leaving the hospital 9 days ago. I told him that my vision had cleared by the time we'd arrived on the little island, and, at no time, had I experienced any pain or any other bad thing while out in the sun. I was quick to point out that I'd faithfully worn the goggles that he'd provided, and at no time had I had sand or grit in my eyes.

He performed many different tests and examinations, and then, surprised, said that I didn't need glasses, something that was totally unheard of considering the injuries I'd sustained to the very sensitive parts of my eyes, the left worse than the right. The pressure in my left eye was a little higher than the right, and he said it would require watching and waiting, however, he released me full and clear, to come back if I needed, otherwise I was to return in one year.

Dr. D's office was next. They weren't expecting us until the following week, but, one of the new residents, hearing we were from out of town, stepped in and examined me very carefully. Satisfied with my progress, he efficiently and professionally removed the stitches, ordered an x-ray, which didn't take too much waiting time, and then sent us on our way after saying I was making very good progress.

A shuttle bus took us to the rig, and after wishing us a safe trip, picked up passengers and then went on his way. We managed to get out of the parking lot and side streets without a hitch. It was late in the afternoon. We were all pretty tired from the trip, and were hungry as bears. As we got on a street that appeared to lead out of town, we saw a Thai restaurant. Quickly, almost too quickly, Tony made the parking lot, and received quite a few one finger salutes and honks. Adam then said something we couldn't hear but it tore Tony apart; he was very nearly rolling on the floor laughing so hard.

The food was absolutely and totally wonderful. I'd never eaten Thai food before, but I really like it, as did Seth. Adam purchased several bottles of seasonings and sauces to take home.

No sooner had we gotten into the rig and out on the freeway, Seth and I went to the back bedroom, and quickly fell asleep. Other than some occasional bounces caused by the rough roads, we slept all the way home, and didn't wake up until the rig parked in Adam's driveway, and the engines shut down.

The clock read 10:15pm. Even though we'd slept for over 3 hours, I was dog-assed trashed tired, and was quite cranky, to say the least. I inadvertently snapped at Adam when he told me to grab the last two remaining bags of provisions from the rig and carry them into the house. I said, "I just want to go to bed, I'm drag ass tired." No, it really didn't come out as a plausible statement, rather, it came out as a loudly placed 'whine'.

As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew that I'd fucked up, that my attitude was not where it should have been.

I knew I was in deep shit. Tony looked at me... I couldn't read his expression, though. Seth looked at me like I'd lost my last marble... finally, I turned to Adam. He wasn't angry, at all. He said, "I know you're tired, so are we... help us out here, okay?" Then he turned away and walked into the house with his arms full of provisions we hadn't used.

Tony calmly said, 'You owe him an apology... go ahead and get it taken care of... we'll be right in."

I grabbed the two bags, took off for inside the house. Adam was standing at the kitchen island. By the look on his face, he was deeply contemplating. I walked to him, sat the bags down on the floor, and then looked into his eyes after getting his attention by pulling his arm around my shoulder, "I'm sorry. I had no right to say that to you."

"No you didn't, James. I understand you're tired. We're all bone weary tired, so, think nothing more of it. Your apology is accepted." Adam said, patted my back, then we headed to the garage with his arm around my shoulders.

Thinking I needed to take the apology one step further, as soon as we walked up to Tony and Seth, who were standing next to the rig, I said, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said what I did... you guys heard it, so I'm apologizing."

Tony said, "You have a lot of courage, James. Your apology is accepted." To Adam, he continued, "Adam, we need to be leaving. I'm on the docket for a case tomorrow afternoon at 2pm. I've got a bit of prep work to do to be ready to present."

"Tony, you're welcome to stay here tonight, and then get an early start. You look very tired, my friend."

"I'm tired alright. I think the miles are catching up with me." Tony said then chuckled lightly, tiredly.

I grabbed Seth's arm, which he didn't mind, not one bit, then headed to the door to the kitchen.

Tony said to Seth, tiredly, "I don't suppose we even need to talk about this?"

Seth, grinning, replied, "No, sir. No need for discussion. Dad, you look tired... we can leave out in the morning. I'll be ready. What time do you want to leave?"

"Well, if we could be on the road by 9, that would work." Tony said, looking at Adam.

Adam nodded. Seth asked Adam, "Is there anything else we need to get out of the rig for tonight?"

"No, I think we have everything." Adam replied, then smiled and added, "Why don't you guys make yourselves scarce? Let's see, I have floors to sweep... the garage needs some work done... and well, the lawn tractor has lights on it..."

"Okay, okay, we get the message... come on, Seth... I can tell when we're not wanted." I said, hoping that I was wearing my best pouty face.

Tony, getting in on the act, said, "Why don't you boys go dunk your heads? Oh wait, Adam is the pool okay for the boys?"

"Yeah, it should be. I pay a service to keep it in shape. Boys, I'll check the water myself in a few minutes. I'm sure you can find something to keep yourselves occupied..."

Before I could say anything, Seth grabbed my hand and led me into my bedroom, where within 10 seconds we were stripped naked, then within no more than 2 minutes I was stuffed more than any meal could or would... and then without 'too much' guidance I found and utilized his pleasure tunnel for the same exact reasons.

As I was sitting on the toilet relieving 'other certain things' Seth sat on the floor, put his arms around my torso and held me firmly, patted my lower back, and said, "I've never fallen in love with anybody, James. But, I think I'm falling, or maybe I've already come to love you. My Dad says it just happens... I guess I'm just confused... I mean that I want you around all the time... does that make any sense?"

The truth of the matter is that I'd never much thought about it... oh sure, I know that Adam loves me, or at least he acts much, much different than my parents... you know... but loving someone not attached like that, you know – a parent or whatever – well, I had no experience with it... you know... love like a brother loves another brother or sister...

After the last one fell, I snickered.

Seth quickly got up off the floor. He had this frightened look on his face. I took hold of his hand, looked into his eyes, then snickered again, "I've got to wipe... you had my arms, dude."

He rolled his eyes up into his head. The look of relief on his face was palpable. He said, "Yeah... of course... hurry up, my turn."

I finished up, flushed and then we changed places. I'd never had my arms around a dude taking a dump before... that was a new experience.

When he tore off bathroom tissue I got into the shower, got the temperature 'just right' and then began to wash those areas south of the border. He joined me and did the same. After drying off, we headed to the pool area where Adam was testing the chemical levels to make sure they were adequate. They were. Once again, Seth took a flying leap, diving in head first. When he came up on the other side of the pool he said, "The water's perfect." And then he went underwater and came up in front of me. I had sat down on the edge and watched him swim like an eel underwater. I slinked into the pool. He took me in his arms and more or less carried me to the far end of the pool where I stood on the underwater ledge. Our conversation wasn't yet finished, so, I said, smiling, "If this is what love is then I love you, Seth. But, I'll probably fuck it up like I do everything else."

Wistfully, Seth came back, "Yeah, me, too."

That sounded so weird coming from him... I'd always seen him as self assured, calm and collected, afraid of little, yet vulnerable, too. So when he said what he'd said it took me aback. I saw him in a different light. I went into his arms, held on tight, and then kissed his lips meaningfully... like I'd never kissed anybody else in my entire life... it was the first time that I'd experienced another persons' tongue in my oral cavity... at first, I resisted, but then again, it was very pleasant and titillating.

Seth smiled when we broke, and then took us underwater where we kissed some more, and again and again, until the need for air superseded all else.

The following morning, the sound of the house phone (a telephone was in the bedroom I was using for my own, for as long as Adam would have me), woke me up. I reached for the phone, picked it up from its cradle. I heard Adam's voice speak to the caller:

"Hello, this is Adam Wright."

The caller replied, "Hello, this is Wendell Good from SRS. I have Sally Griswald on the line. She's my supervisor in Topeka. Do you have a few minutes to talk?"

That name? Holy shit, they found me. Holy shit, they were going to take me away. "Seth, wake the fuck up!" I whispered. One hand was over the mouthpiece, while the other was shaking Seth awake.

I pulled his head into my lap, took two fingers to show him to be quiet, while Adam said cautiously, over the phone, "What's this about? I'm in a meeting with my attorney, Tony Lorenzo. Just a moment, I'll be right back."

Two minutes later, no more, another click was heard through the phone. Tony said, "Hello, this is Tony Lorenzo. I am Adam's attorney of record." Then with definite smugness in his voice, continued, "I represent Adam in all legal matters."

"Yes, we have that information. Actually, I'm glad you both are on the phone. We have information for you and, quite frankly, I'm glad you're available for this conversation. We are calling about a possible permanent situation, actually a solution for James' placement. Are you available to hear us out?"

My butt cheeks clenched together tightly. I laid down on the bed and permitted Seth to put his hand on my chest. He mouthed the words, "What's up?"

I shook my head 'no' meaning nothing... yet I couldn't bullshit him... he knew that something was upsetting me. I held the phone in such a way so that he could hear the conversation, with me.

Adam said, "Okay, go ahead, we're listening. This had better be good. We don't want him traumatized any more than you guys have already jerked him around." There was ice in his voice... I shuddered… I didn't want to get on his bad side.

Seth quietly touched and kissed my cheek with his full ample lips. He then reached for the phone pad, pushed a button, then he spoke, "I put it on mute, you dork." And then he seriously kissed my lips, once again. I returned it, wholeheartedly. And then we turned our attentions back to the call.

"No, sir, we have no plans to be less than totally honest and forthright. You are correct; the boy has had enough bad stuff in his life. We think we've found a good match within the parameters you've given us."

Adam said, "Go ahead. This had better be really good."

The female caseworker supervisor spoke up, "Gentlemen, the family who is interested lives in Topeka. They are approved foster parents. They are interested in meeting with young James for a possible placement..."

Tony barked, "Ma'am, we are not looking for a 'possible placement'. In case you are not aware of the situation, the boy has been in foster care before... it didn't work for him – OR – the foster family. We've made our stipulations very clear, and we've also made the stipulations clearly and unequivocally – non-negotiable..."

"But... this family IS interested in considering James for permanent placement. The family is well respected in the community. They are staunch Christians. Their children are model citizens... and, they are disciplined."

Adam spoke up, "We're not interested... thank you. We'll not have him in a home... where he's 'disciplined', I can only imagine how he 'would' be treated... Hhe's 12 years old and at a very vulnerable age... he doesn't need to have his head filled with, what? Dogma and iron ruling? ... good bye."

I buried myself under the covers. I did not want to speak to anyone about anything, so when Seth put his arms around my torso... I pushed him away... the hurt in his eyes was almost more than I could take... so I pulled him in close... losing hold of the phone. It clanked to the hardwood floor. Seth looked toward the door... his facial features dramatically changed – to worry ... tears began flowing freely from his eyes. I turned – Adam was standing in the doorway. He looked down and saw the phone resting on the floor. His face fell... surprise turned to sadness. He started to walk toward us, Seth said, "James needs you, right now."

Seth got out of bed, reached to the floor, retrieved his underwear, then while walking to the door he went through the motions of putting them on – but fell to the floor, after having tripped while putting them over his foot. I snickered, "Way to go, dufus. Seth, you can stay, so can your dad..."

I said his dad could stay because he was standing in the doorway, then he reached down to help his son up off the floor. Quickly, Seth finished putting on his underwear then stood in front of his dad and said, "Dad, we heard the conversation... with... uhm, the caseworker... sorry..."

Tony put his arm around Seth's shoulders, walked to the bed, then sat down, as did Adam. Adam said, "I'm sorry you had to hear that conversation, yet, at the same time, in a way, I'm kind of glad you did. I hope you truly understand, now, that Tony and I have your best interests in our hearts, first and foremost, always. We're not going to negotiate, James. This is your future we're talking about."

"Thanks, Adam. You, too, Tony. We might as well give up, though. How long can I stay here?"

Adam immediately took me into his arms, squeezed firmly, hard enough to tell me that he deeply cared for me, and that, indeed, he only had my best interests at heart. I melted into his side, once I finally let my mind accept all that he was giving me – himself. Adam said, very softly, "You can stay here for just as long as you want to. I'm not going to send you away... I'd never do that, ever."

Tony said while looking at Seth, "James, I did the same thing with Seth. Only it was a little different... but not really... you see, I was searching for a son, since my wife and I were unable, and unwilling, too, to have another child of our own... as it is... things definitely worked out. We didn't go shopping for a child... rather Seth came to me... he had some legal problems... and well, the rest is history. He came to me... I didn't go looking for him... you'll find your family... trust me."

I trusted Tony, and I trusted Adam even more. When they said things like that then I believed them with all my heart... I had no alternative, and I wasn't looking for alternatives... they'd never lied to me... they'd never told me that I was a worthless fuck, an accident, or that I'd never amount to anything... instead they gave me reasons and possibilities to succeed, to be myself, warts and all.

Tony said, "I hope that you fully understand the gravity of what we're saying."

I nodded, then joined my hands together around Adam's neck. I kissed his cheek, and let go. Somehow, I felt safe to trust him, with my heart.

Tony and Seth needed to leave so that Tony could get back to Oklahoma City for a trial set to begin that afternoon. After making one last pass through the motor home rig and finding nothing else of Adam's, after a tearful separation, we, Adam and I, watched them drive down the road and turn right onto the freeway.

Tony said, "We're going down to see them in a couple of weeks. James, tomorrow, since I have temporary legal custody of you, I need to do the responsible thing by getting you enrolled into school. There's only a few weeks of school left... but you need to get started."

I groaned a bit but then decided he was right... that I did need to get into school... and that he needed to be responsible – what words to hear from a 12 year old. Adam said that I was precocious, or some such thing. How dare him... I didn't even know what the word precocious meant!

The school enrolled me however I could not attend school until fall... it was too close to the end of the then school year... they were doing finals and all that shit... which worked out okay for me. I wasn't all that crazy about the idea of going back...

The planned weekend with Tony and Seth didn't work out. First, Seth had an appendicitis attack that required an operation, and then Tony got a case that kept him in the city. It was a high profile case, one that needed his full and undivided attention.

Three weeks went and passed. Meanwhile, Adam got some photography contracts, so, he, too, was preoccupied with the work. I understood fully and completely.

Adam gave me a project to do so that I didn't feel like I was in the way, or not carrying my weight... remember, I do not take hand outs or charity, even though Adam made it perfectly clear that I need not feel dutiful or 'owing'. He said that he doesn't like people feeling like they owe him something... so the project was to strip, prep and varnish an old antique chair. The chair had a hell of a lot of detail. It had been hand engraved. It had also been his grandmother's. He said that she'd spent a lot of time rocking him to sleep in it... when he was a little boy. Although he didn't come right out and say it I heard, very clearly, that he deeply loved that chair, and all that it had meant to him for all his life. He trusted me with it. Nobody had trusted me with anything, before. Adam wouldn't listen to my whine about probably fucking it up... he was very firm about me doing the project for him.

We found a good website that gave step by step instructions on how to restore a valuable antique. I printed it off then we headed for a local building supply store, purchased the supplies that would be needed... following the instructions to the T. Those instructions did not include using stain remover... no sir... it was all to be done by hand using, at first, coarse sandpaper, then incrementally to very fine paper so that all rough edges were sanded properly, smoothly.

The following Friday morning, we took off for the lake house for a weekend of fun, and to just get away from the daily grind. The major contract he was working on left him quite irritable, at times. Though he didn't take it out on me directly, there were a few times when we got on each others' last nerve.

As soon as we arrived, he launched the boat, and we took a nice boat ride down to the kewl restaurant, the one that is accessible only by water. We ordered our favorite meal – lobster and steak, crab cakes, and killer cheesy potatoes.

Finished and stuffed to the gills (pun intended) we took off for a leisurely trip around the lake with no particular destination in mind. We even went into the cove that Seth had mentioned being good for fishing... we only went in there because nobody was around... we didn't want to interrupt anyone's fishing... Adam dropped anchor then began stripping off his shirt, shoes, socks, and then reached for the zipper on his pants... we'd never gone skinny dipping together before... that was my cue... in 2 minutes, or less, I was stripped the skin, sporting a hopelessly hard erection that would not go down FOREVER, or so I thought. Adam snickered then dove in head first.

By then, my hip was feeling great, so, I followed him in after donning the mandatory life jacket. We goofed around for quite some time, then it came time to get out because it was getting somewhat dark, at least the sun was almost on the horizon.

We had a small problem though.

To wit: we'd forgotten to drop the rope ladder.

The fucking anchor was too heavy to lift just enough so that the boat would coast into the shallower end of the cove. After numerous attempts to jump high enough to grab hold of the rails, Adam came up with a plan: he'd hoist me onto his shoulders so that I could get up there, get on the boat, wench the anchor, and drop the ladder. The only problem with that was that I was chest high in the water... my body was slick, and so were his shoulders, but, on the last attempt, even though his shoulders fell away, I'd been able to reach the rail, and then I was able to, using all my strength, grab on and hoist myself up and over that damn rail. By that time, it was pitch black dark; you couldn't even see your hand in front of your face.

That was the coup de grace adventure of our adventuresome weekend.

On Sunday afternoon, as we were pulling the boat out of the water, the cabin house phone rang. Adam said that if it was important then they'd call back, that we needed to finish the job of loading up the boat... but then the phone rang again, and again, in rapid succession.

Adam, facing away from me, muttered some expletive that he didn't necessarily want me to hear. I snickered all the same. Then the phone rang again – that time, I jumped off the boat, fell on my ass, laughing all the way, and then took off up the steps without abandon. I got there just in time to catch the phone, "Hello!" I said breathlessly.

"Oh hey, James. What's up dude?" It was Tony.

"We're just getting the boat out of the water so we can go home. Whatcha up to?" I asked happily.

"Oh, just grinding away... we should be able to get away next weekend... I talked to Adam earlier in the week... both our weekends are clear... so we'll get together then!"

"YEAH!!!! KEWL!!!"

"Yeah, Seth is chomping at the bit... I think he misses you."

"Yeah, well, I miss him, too... can I talk to him?"

"In a little while... first, I need to talk to Adam... can he come to the phone?"

"Sure, no problem. Hold on."

I walked onto the deck. Adam was cinching the trailer onto the hitch of the truck. I said, "Hey Adam, Tony wants to talk to you... we're getting together next weekend... can we?"

Adam looked up, smiled, nodded, then finished cinching until it was tight. You don't want to lose a boat going down the highway at 70 miles per hour – NOT!

Finished with that task, he walked up the stairs, took the phone, "Hey Tony... the fish are biting like crazy... you missed out..."

Adam grinned like a Cheshire cat as he listened to Tony speak. I knew that they were fucking with each other – we'd not been fishing – we'd only been where people DO fish.

"Well... it sounded good... what's up? James, would you tie down the coolers... make sure they're secure..."

"Will do... can I talk to Seth before you hang up, please?"

Adam nodded affirmatively. I took off down the stairs, missed the last one and went sprawling into the gravel... fuck me. Adam, immediately, took off down the steps, and arrived just as I was getting up off the ground. I'd scraped the hell out of the side of my face and my elbow... it stung like a motherfucker. Adam said to Tony, "I'll call you back in a few. We have a klutz in our midst..."

He clicked off the phone, hooked it on a hook on the railing, and then we walked up the stairs into the main bathroom where he had a first aid kit. He washed away the small gravel, put some antibiotic salve on the scrapes then put a Band-Aid on the larger wounds.

Nobody had ever done that for or to me. I reveled in the attention.

"There, all fixed... go ahead and get those coolers secured... you're fine... a little scratched up... nothing that won't heal in a few days, though."

I took those steps one at a time. Adam followed me, grabbed the phone and called Tony back.

Within 30 minutes, I'd done all I could do to get us ready to get on the road. I double checked the power cable that provided the energy to illuminate all the various warning lights on the boat and trailer. The final need was to lower the overhead canvas cover on the boat so that it wouldn't blow away, or get torn all to hell while running down the road at highway speeds.

Just as I was snapping the last snap, Adam entered the main cabin of the boat, removed the keys from the ignition switch, put them into his pocket, and then turned to me. He then grinned wide and bright like a Cheshire cat. He said, "You did good, James. I'm proud of you. There's just one last thing we need to do before we leave..."

I stood there, deep in thought, wondering what the hell I'd forgotten that needed to be done. I went down the mental list of things that we'd done so many times before... I couldn't think of anything.

I shrugged my shoulders, unable to come up with anything. Adam smiled, "Uhm, young mate, the next step is for us to get off this boat..."

"Ugh.... leave it to a grownup..." I snickered, once the absurdity struck me in the gut. He grabbed me up like a sack of potatoes then carried me down the ladder, with me laughing and screaming all the way down because he added a bit of 'tickle' to the mix. Once down, he hoisted me high into the air, I stood on his shoulders, and then tossed the rope ladder into the boat as far as I could toss it.

On the way down his chest, he pulled me into a deep, deep hug, then he did something he'd never done before: he kissed my cheek. I put my arms around his neck and squeezed hard, harder than I'd ever done before. When he released me to the ground, I looked into his eyes with total love and devotion. His eyes had tears in them... I'd never seen him tear up like that before, except for the time at the hospital... I asked, "What's wrong, Adam? What did I do?"

Quickly, Adam brushed his tears away, and then said, "We'll talk about it in the truck on the way... home. Go on upstairs, use the bathroom, grab a Coke for us. I'm going to pull the truck out of the hole... I'll meet you at the top."

Like always, right as we took out, when Tony and Seth weren't around we went to their cabin to make sure all the doors and windows are closed tight and locked. They were. Everything was fine.

When we got to the main road, Adam stopped at a Shop 'n Go where he fueled the truck so that we'd get home without having to stop again. I grabbed some chips, salsa and chili con queso to eat on the road. I don't know where it came from... perhaps it was just something I'd long buried deep down inside... "Adam, I love you. Thanks... for... you know... everything... Are you sure you can't be my dad?"

Adam looked at me with an intensity I'd never seen before... there was a longing in his eyes... instead of saying anything, he made sure I was belted in securely, closed the passenger side door, walked around the vehicle, got in himself, locked himself in, and then took off after making sure traffic was clear. He didn't say anything until we got off the I-44 heading east to go north, "James, Tony's call was about something we've talked about... you know... about finding you a good family where you can grow roots and build a foundation to base the rest of your life upon... Tony got in contact with a family who meets our stringent criteria... they want to meet you, and no, it is not something temporary. I don't know all the details... but Tony is confident... and, as you know, if Tony is confident then we have every reason to be confident. James, I trust my life to Tony, and I trust your life to him. He isn't steering us wrong."

I unbuckled my seat, reached across the console, took Adam's cheek and turned his head toward me so that I could look directly into his eyes. They would give me the answer to stop wondering.

Adam took my hand in his and held it firmly... not hard, not frightening, not menacingly... just firmly... it was then that I knew he was telling the absolute truth...

"Okay. Adam, I'll never distrust you again." I said slowly, deliberately. I wanted him to know beyond any shadow of a doubt that I meant what I said.

As if he were reading my mind, he said, "They live about two and a half hours northwest of Wichita, on a … check this out … a farm. They have ..."

"A farm? Really? No shit? You're shitting me, Adam... sorry, no you aren't... oh God... geezus..." I gushed, fidgeting in my seat, excited beyond belief... it couldn't be true... but then Adam said it...

"I don't see you as being a farm boy, James." Adam chuckled.

"Oh fuck yeah... just wait... you've got to see MY farm... my hip's fine, I feel great... can we go there tomorrow... I've got to show you! Oh shit... geezus... oh my God... when can I meet them? I'll be good, Adam, honest to fuck I will, I promise! Do they have any kids? What are they like... Adam..."

"James, hold on a second... I'll answer any questions that you have... you know that Tony and I didn't talk about it for very long... so my information might be a bit limited... now... to start... uhm... okay, where did you start? What do you want to know? Easy on me, I'm getting up to old-fart status."

"A farm?"

"Yes, a farm."

"Okay, a farm... how big is it?"

"Don't know. It's a farm... you know... they probably have cows, pigs, horses, crops. Hell, I don't know... I've never lived on a farm before..."

"Me neither." I said, then dropping my voice to barely above a whisper, "Do you think they'll like me? I promise I'll be good... I swear it... I really swear it, on my grave." I turned to Adam... I needed to know...

"James, let's get something straight, okay?" Adam said very quietly, just a little bit over the low rumbles emanating from the powerful engines powering the truck toward … home?

I started to open my mouth to reply, but, he continued very softly yet deliberately, "There is nothing about you that is not likeable. Not only are you likeable, you are, despite how you were brought up so far, a very loving person. James, you deserve to be loved... you're a good kid, really you are. Think about this for a minute – you're wondering if they will like you... well turn the tables... they may be thinking and wondering the same thing – if you will like them. It's a 2 way street. Let me take this a step further … they have 5 children, that I know of... maybe 6, Tony didn't know for sure. Speaking of Tony, he's talked to Mr... uhm, nevermind names, himself."

"You mean they have to figure me out, too..., you know, like I have to figure them out?"

"Exactly. James, let me give you a piece of advice that you need to carry with you for all the days of your life. This is very important. Do I have your full and undivided attention?"

I put my hand on top of Adam's arm, grasped it firmly, "Yes, I'm listening."

"Here's the deal: there's no need for you to worry about people liking you or not... just be yourself. You're good people; otherwise I wouldn't be hanging around the likes of you. <Adam chuckled>. I've got a reputation to uphold. Besides, I know things about people, too. You don't have the corner on the market for figuring people out pretty darned quickly."

I removed my hand from his arm when he stopped speaking, paid attention to where he was going... we'd swerved a foot or two on the pavement a couple of times. With that big boat on the back, you could definitely feel the sway. The rest of the trip into Wichita was quiet and uneventful... and Adam stayed in the center of the lane of traffic (I hope you're reading this, Adam!).

Adam had me call Tony to let him know we arrived safe and sound (heh heh heh) while he was fixing a late night dinner for the two of us. Tony wouldn't tell me one damn thing more than Adam had shared with me. Seth was out sweeping and mopping the boat dock area... it seems that he'd gotten a bit mouthy with his dad, and well, he was assigned extra chores... so I didn't get to talk to him. I did remember to profusely thank Tony for all he'd done. After I exchanged my thoughts and feelings toward him, I added a huge thanks for making things right with Adam.

He told me that Seth and he would arrive Monday evening, sometime. We were all going together to the prospective 'parents' on Tuesday morning, that we were to meet the family at 11:00am.

Just before we hung up, he, too, told me to just be myself.

Everybody was telling me to just be myself... but who was I?

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