Cover image courtesy of a good friend and fan of this story: “Logan”

LINCOLN, THE FAMILY I NEVER EXPECTED

Copyright ©2017-2018 Lindon Weztser & CSU Productions. All Rights Reserved.

Full disclaimer may be viewed at http://cornercafe.us


Installment 17 (Problems)

Part – 1

Friday, February 26th, 2016.I was fast asleep until 6:30 in the morning when I felt someone enter my bed and cuddle up next to me. My eyes open and adjusted to the light peaking through the curtains, it was Lincoln making his way over.“Hey buddy,” I said as I wrapped my arm around his bare chest and brought him closer to me. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah… I woke up early and couldn’t fall back asleep.”

“Well I’m always open for some morning cuddles,” I said as I kissed the back of his head and rubbed his chest.

“I love you, Garret, I love you so much,” Lincoln said as he began to cry.

“Hey what’s the matter?”

“Nothing, I’m just so happy I get to be here with you.”

“Aww buddy, you’re gonna make me cry now,” I replied as I pulled him tighter. “I love you so much and don’t you ever forget that.”

“I know you do,” Lincoln stated turning his body be face to face with me.

“You know? You’re a gorgeous boy… Absolutely flawless,” I said as I kissed his forehead.

“Even with my cut?”

I chuckled before I spoke, “yes even with your cut. By the way, its barely noticeable, the doctor did a terrific job.”

“Thanks,” Lincoln giggled.

“Don’t mention it… so we gonna try and fall back asleep? We still have some time to sleep in.”

“Maybe, but I have a question that I forgot to ask you?”

“What’s the question?” I asked as I was now rubbing my hand through his hair while avoiding his staples.

“Umm… next Friday umm, there is career day for the 5th grade. And umm, parents come talk to my class… and I was wondering since you’re like… basically my dad, could ahhh… could you come talk?”

“Hmm let me check my schedule,” I joked as I pulled at a fake calendar from my side, “Umm… oh, I don’t know, maybe if I move this around… or maybe… oh it is not looking too good.”

“Garret!” Giggled Lincoln

“What? I’m a busy man, I don’t just sit here while you guys go to school!”

“You don’t?” Joked Lincoln

“Good one,” I replied and tickled his ribs.

“But can you make it?” Lincoln asked.

“Absolutely bud, I couldn’t picture a better Friday than spending it with you,” I stated and kissed his forehead again.

“Thank you thank you thank you,” Lincoln cheered as he wrapped his arms around my neck for a hug.

“You’re welcome kiddo,” I replied as I rubbed his back.

“This is gonna be so cool, I can’t wait for next Friday!”

“Yeah, I’m excited too! Glad you’re asking.” I inquired as my hand came to a bare bum. “Are you naked?”

“Mayyyybe,” giggled Lincoln.

“What am I gonna do with you,” I replied as I released the hug and Lincoln scooted over some.

“Nothing! Hopefully! So umm…what are you gonna talk about?”

“Well, that’s a good question.” I stated, “I could talk about my old business, but that is boring, and It has the potential to put people to sleep. So I think I will talk about my new adventure.”

“What’s that?” Lincoln eagerly asked.

“I’m starting an organization for children in need. My goal is the provide a place to stay for kids that were in a similar circumstance when I found you. It’s called the HLRJC Organization, and it stands for Home for the Lacking, Runaways, & Jeopardized Children.”

“I’m not going there am I?” Worried Lincoln.

“You kidding? Of course you are!”

“What?”

“I’m kidding bud, I wouldn’t trade you or your brothers for anything.”

“Okay good, you worried me for a second.”

“You don’t ever have to worry about me giving you up!” I said.

“So why the long name? What is it again? The HJITC something?”

“It’s called the HLRJC Organization, and the name is significant to me. Each letter in the name signified when my life changed for the better, and hopefully, when a child is in need, the HLRJC organization can change their life for the better as well.”

“Why are those letters so important.”

“I’ll give you a hint…. 4 handsome reasons why… I love the 4 reasons so much….”

“Umm…” Lincoln thought

“I’m staring at one now as I speak!”

“Ummm… Me?” Blushed Lincoln.

“You better believe it, buddy!”

“But why?”

“My life changed for the better when I met you boys. You and your brothers each have the first letter of your names inside the organization’s name. L stands for Lincoln and Lacking, R stands for Ryker and Runaways, J stands for Jacob and Jeopardized, and finally, C stands for Clayton and Children.”

“What about the H?”

“Well, the H stands for Hamel, my last name, but also hopefully your last name in the future.”

“What do you mean?”

“I never want to lose you or your brothers, and I would love to adopt you guys and have you all become my legal children.”

“Wait,” smiled Lincoln, “does that mean you’d be my real dad?”

“Yup! Would you like that?”

“That’s like… the only thing I’ve wanted since meeting you,” Lincoln cried.

“Aww buddy,” I said as I pulled his body closer to mine. He buried his head in my chest, and he began to cry, “so I take that as a yes?”

“Yes!”

“I love you kiddo,” I said as I rubbed his bare back and embraced my future son.

“Does that mean I can call you dad?”

“Well not yet, but in a few months you will be able to,” I replied.

“I love you, Garret.”

“Love you so much kiddo!”

“Are… are you gonna tell everyone else?”

“Umm… no not for a little while. We still have a few months before any real movement towards adoption happens, but I wanted to talk to you about it. Ya know, to make sure you are okay with the idea since you’re the oldest brother.”

“Are you kidding,” Lincoln stated and looked at me with his beautiful blue eyes, “It’s like… it’s like a dream. A good dream.”

“It’s a dream for me too,” I said and kissed his head again. I heard a few sniffles coming from him, so I asked, “you okay?”

“Ye… yeah, I’m just so happy.”

“So am I,” I stated as I released the hug, and Lincoln scooted away. “How’s the head feel?”

“Less painful with each day.”

“Good and everything good with the boys down there?”

“Huh? Oh, yup! Fully recovered, see?” Lincoln said as he lifted the blanket up. Luckily it was still too dark in the room to see anything, but I acknowledged that it was better.

“Yeah,” I laughed, “now put the weapon away!”

“Okay,” giggled Lincoln. We actually stayed up the rest of the time and chatted about random stuff. I didn’t tell him about Jacob yet because I wanted to tell everyone at once. However, that was still in the back of my mind. Around 7, I sent Lincoln to his room and told him to put on underwear. He wasn’t too thrilled with my request, but he obliged. As Lincoln went to his room, I hopped in the shower for a quick rinse.

Around 7:10 I stepped out of the shower and put clothes on. I went to Lincoln’s room to grab him for breakfast, but when I entered his bedroom, he wasn’t inside. I worried for a second but heard his giggle from downstairs followed by Rita’s voice. I was just about to walk downstairs when I heard a cry come from Clayton’s room, so I headed towards his door to investigate.

Once I cracked open the door, I saw Clayton sitting on his bed rubbing his eyes as tears rolled down his face.

“Clayton?” I said as I walked over, “what’s the matter?”

“I… I had a bad dream.”

“Ahh bud, it’s okay,” I replied as I sat down and wrapped my arms around him. “did the monkeys chase you again?”

“No… it was about CJ.”

“CJ?”

“Yeah from the bedtime story.”

“Oh, okay! What about CJ?”

“I saw what made him not be able to walk.”

“What was it?” I asked because I don’t even remember telling him how CJ lost the use of his legs yet.

“A car accident… I saw everything happen to him, and it was so scary.”

“Aww buddy, he didn’t hurt himself in a car accident,” I stated trying to get Clayton’s mind off the subject.

“He didn’t?”

“No! It was a sports injury. I was gonna tell you how he injured himself during our next bedtime story.”

“A sports injury?” Clayton questioned.

“Yeah”

“How did a sports injury cause him to lose the use of his legs?”

“Well we will have to figure that out next bedtime story,” I replied as I poked him in the sides which caused him to laugh.

“Can we finish the story soon?”

“We will try bud! But come on, it’s time for breakfast.”

“Can you carry me?”

“Absolutely,” I said as I stood and picked Clayton up.

“Love you.”

“Love you too,” I replied as we walked out of the door and downstairs to the kitchen where we were greeted by Lincoln and Rita.

After Clayton’s nightmare, I guess we can call it that, the rest of the morning returned to a cheerful tone, similar to before I got a shower. Ryker and Jacob joined us three in the kitchen, and the boys ate the food made by Rita.

After breakfast, they all went upstairs to change for school. The rest of the morning was a breeze, I dropped them off at school and stopped by the Mercedes dealership to test drive a Mercedes S63 AMG again. I am planning on trading in the truck, but I haven’t been sold on the idea yet, so I left the dealership without a deal for now.

Once I returned home, I sat down by the kitchen counter and was just about to speak when the phone rang. Rita rushed over to answer the phone and stated that it was my sister. I told Rita to hold the call while I walked to my office and took over the conversation.

“Hello!” I asked, “what’s up?”

“I uhh, just got off the phone with Thomas.”

“Okay?”

“Thomas is going to try and take away the other 3 boys,” stated Kelly.

“Impossible,” I returned.

“Technically, no it’s not… he umm could take it to court and let the judge decide who should have custody.”

“Not a chance in hell a judge would side with him over me.”

“If the judged was a traditionalist and thought a single male can’t raise children, he could win.”

“Not possible.”

“Garret? Do you really want to take that kind of a chance? I mean come on, think about it.”

“Oh… oh… what am I suppose to do, just give him the money? oh speaking of money, he made another bribe offer for Jacob.”

“Do you have proof, like a recording of it?”

“No…”

“Then it’s not useful,” stated Kelly. “Unless you have his voice or a video of him asking for money, it’s not helpful.”

“How is this even happening?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? Isn’t it your job to know this stuff? To keep the child safe and do what’s best.”

“I admit, I’m not on the top of my game, but I have never dealt with something like this.”

“Can’t you ask for help?

“No, not really.”

“No one is your department has ever dealt with a case like this?” I questioned.

“No… Laura has some experience but not like your case requires. There are so many loopholes that people could jump through, so many different paths that Thomas could take. Laura will know what to do.”

“Can’t you ask her for help?”

“Well, I am asking her for help… She officially has had the case handed to her. I couldn’t do it anymore.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, I just have so much going on here, and Laura knows more about laws.”

“Wait… what?”

“Laura is taking over your case.”

“Wait… Laura, the woman that tried to ship my boys up to North Dakota or whatever state it was…. is now in charge?”

“Garret… she was following protocol, and she still does. However, she believes those boys have found their forever home with you. She is the best person to handle this case, you just have to trust me, Laura will know more.”

“Kelly, I don’t want Laura.”

“Garret… listen to me, she knows best. I have extended my resources, she knows more and is very capable.”

“You’re capable as well.”

“I just need to take a step back from this case and place the children I have remaining under my care before I come work for you.”

“Kelly….”

“Garret,” Kelly said cutting me off, “no! I am transferring you to Laura, she has been updated on the case, and is expecting a call from you. This is best for both of us, I promise.”

“Kelly,” I tried to say again, but it was too late as she hung up and the phone was ringing for Laura’s number. Probably less than 15 seconds later, the dial tone stopped, and Laura began speaking,

“Mr. Hamel, pleasure. It’s Laura Deon.”

“Hi Laura, hopefully, this time we can help be allies and not enemies!”

“I agree, so let’s jump in. I know most of the case, and the most recent news I have heard is Thomas, Jacob’s grandfather, may try and take all the kids away from you, is that correct?”

“Yes.”

“Well let’s get one thing straight, that’s not going to happen.”

“How can you be so sure?” I asked.

“Because it won’t, even if it goes to court. The judge will value CPS’s opinion, in which we will back full support for you unless given damaging news. I just want to make this clear, you have our full support to keep Lincoln, Ryker, and Clayton. We would love to keep Jacob with you but, I am not sure if it will work. I’d give us a 50 percent chance of keeping him in your custody.”

“Better than 0 I guess.”

“I like the positivity Garret, now have you had any contact with Thomas or Debra?”

“Yes, last night he called my number with another bribe offer.”

“Did you by chance get a recording?”

“Unfortunately not.”

“Would you consider a paying him?”

“What are you asking Laura?”

“Well if it came down to it, would you be willing to pay to keep Jacob in your custody.”

“No, I don’t want to give this guy a damn penny,” I fired back.

“I like your answer, but keep that option in your back pocket. And don’t tell anyone you heard that from me.”

“Oh miss protocol, breaking the rules a little,” I teased.

“This isn’t a joking manner,” Laura shot back.

“I’m… I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, now I also hear you have a legal team? Have you contacted them?”

“No, not yet, I have not been advised to yet.”

“Garret…. if there was ever a time to contact your legal team… now would be the time.”

“I will contact them as soon as I’m done with this call.”

“Okay good.” Spoke Laura, “now I will also advise you do not have any contact with Thomas or Debra, and if you do, have a tape recorder or some type of listening device.”

“Okay, but what happens if he calls me or wants to meet?”

“I don’t know, it would have to be under the right circumstances.”

“Alright, well umm… I’ll be in touch.”

“Oh one last thing, we are going to try and put a block on the weekend visit but don’t get your hopes up.”

“That would uhh… be amazing. Let me know.”

“Will do… have a good day Garret.”

“Oh I’m sorry, I have one last question. Would you recommend me telling Jacob about next weekend sooner rather than later?”

“Umm, I think you know what’s best, but I would personally wait a day or two.”

“I thought that, but then again, I have to notify his brothers about Jacob’s case, so I figured it would be best to tell them sooner rather than later.”

“Like I said, you know best given the circumstances… so you make a choice.”

“Alright thank you.”

“You’re welcome… have a nice day, be in contact soon.”

“You too Laura,” I returned and hung up the phone. Before I had the chance to stand up, I had to process everything thrown at me. I mean first off, this guy is now gunning for all my boys, my sister handed me off to Laura, and I still need to tell the boys about Jacob. Yet, I felt oddly comfortable and not too panicked. I think partly because Laura stepped in as she made some strong comments which put me at ease. However, she also advised me to contact my legal team, which makes me felt uneasy. I don’t know how I was feeling anymore as there were a ton of emotions swirling around this room.

I decided to take Laura’s advice and call my legal team. After about an hour phone call with them and explaining the situation, they urged me to cease contact until further notice. I questioned what I should do if he calls me, and my legal team once again said do not answer until further notice, as they wanted to gather information before proceeding any further.

After my call with the legal team, I decided to lighten my mood with a call to Keith.

“Hello?” He answered.

“Hey Keith, just calling to check in,” I responded.

“Always good to hear from you.”

“Ha good one, so what’s the latest?”

“We have an inspection for Tuesday.”

“Awesome! So I wanted to run this by you.”

“Okay?” Said Keith.

“Next Friday, I have a career day thing for my oldest Lincoln and his class. Instead of talking about my old business, I wanted to pitch our idea to them. My ultimate goal is to make it interactive, where the children are giving us ideas for rooms. Obviously, the office spaces are off limits, but I think it would be interesting to hear from children about some of the stuff they would like.”

“Okay, so you’re saying you are going to let the children customize the building?”

“Not the entire building, but like the main floor where people can hang out. I would like to know what they value, like TVs for video game systems, or a quiet study area. Then for the bedrooms, we could receive feedback about amenities!”

“Well,” began Keith, “it’s not a terrible idea. I think you will spark some interest!”

“That’s what I thought! Make it interactive for them, but I wanted to run it by you first.”

“Well nothing is set in stone as they are just suggestions, but yeah! I like the idea.”

“Awesome!”

“But Garret, I have a question, have we established an age range?”

“Umm… I think we did, but I’m not sure. We can address it again, what are you thinking?”

“We’d accept anyone from 5-16, but obviously we keep them in the program until they are 18,” Keith spoke.

“So the age of acceptance into our organization is maximum 16, but can stay in our program until 18.”

“Yup now my next question is, once the child goes to college. Where do they go on breaks? Like Thanksgiving and Christmas?”

“Umm,” I began. “Not going to lie, I haven’t even thought about that.”

“Yeah, I know. All these thoughts are running through my head.”

“Let’s just take this one step at a time,” I said. “We don’t need all the answers right now, let’s get through inspection and renovations before we start thinking about that.”

“Another issue I want to mention deals with schools and transportation to and from school.”

“What about it?” I asked

“Well, that’s a lot for some schools to take that many new students.”

“We could try to work some type of deal where we send half of the children to one district while the other half goes to a different district.”

“What about transportation?”

“I don’t know! We need to take this one step at a time, stop thinking about an issue 8-9 steps down the road.”

“Yeah,” said Keith. “Guess you’re right, I just can’t wait for this program to start.”

We continued on for a few minutes with our conversation, but I realized that time flew by and I had to go pick up Clayton from school. I said goodbye to Keith and was on my way to the car. I arrived at the school on time, and Clayton jumped in the backseat.

“Hey, Garret!”

“Hey buddy, how was school?”

“Good!”

“Awesome! So what do you want to do today?”

“Umm, I don’t know.”

“Are you hungry?”

“Yes! ALWAYS,” Clayton giggled.

“Stupid question on my part,” I laughed. We went to this Chinese buffet. I think I might have taken Clayton to food heaven, we walked in there, and his mouth dropped. He didn’t quite grasp the concept of endless food because every time he finished his plate and need reassurance that it was okay to get more. I think he had 2-3 plates of a variety of food. By the end of it, I say we got our moneys worth and we went back to our house.

I know Clayton was full because as soon as he got home, he went to the couch and laid down. I was going to go sit with him but saw he was taking a nap. Before long, I went back to the school and picked up the rest of the boys.

Since it was Friday, the boys didn’t have any homework, so they were free to do what they wanted. Looking towards this weekend, this was going to be one of the first weekends we spent without any guest or distractions, so I was excited for the next two days. My only concern was telling the boys about Jacob.

With that being said, the rest of Friday went smoothly. There were no PTSD flashbacks, no hearing from Thomas, and no distractions. We ate Rita’s dinner, and everyone saw her off until Monday, the boys then decided they wanted to watch a movie, so we all cuddled on a couch and turned on the last Harry Potter Film. After the movie, we had a FIFA tournament in the family room as Lincoln brought down his Xbox to hook up.

All in all, it was a great Friday evening, and even a better Friday night as Clayton wanted to sleep with me in my bed. Around 11:30 was when I fell into a deep sleep.



Part – 2

Saturday Morning, I woke up around 7:30, kissed my sleeping angel on the forehead and went to take a quick shower. While showering, I was thinking about the right time to tell the boys about Jacob, but I also wanted to talk to Jacob about next weekend because he deserved to know. However, one thing was first, and that was breakfast. After I got my shower, I put clothes on and headed for the kitchen.

Now I wasn’t gonna make a “Rita Breakfast,” but I was preparing eggs and toast… I mean better than nothing right? Around 8:15 the first boy was coming downstairs, and it was Lincoln. Of course with Rita not being around, he took full advantage of the “clothing is optional” rule as he walked into the kitchen fully naked. I wondered as I watched his flawless body take a seat at the table if this was going to be a stage he grew out of or would he eventually become modest and start covering up. A little modesty wouldn’t hurt, but at the same time, I think it’s fantastic that he can feel so comfortable within his home to feel free.

“Morning,” I said as my attention turned back to the stove top. “Hungry?”

“Yes,” Lincoln answered.

“Alright good, the eggs are almost finished.”

“Can I help?”

“Uhh yeah, you can set the table if you want.”

“Okay,” Lincoln said as he stood up and walked to the cabinet. He grabbed five plates and came back to get five glasses. After he went to the fridge and grabbed the juice. Before sitting down, he came over and gave me a huge hug as he wrapped his arms around me.

“Why thank you, I needed that,” I chuckled. Just as the eggs finished, Ryker came downstairs, and similar to Lincoln, he was in the buck.

“Morning!” Ryker said as he ran to give me a hug.

“I’m loving all these hugs,” I stated as I bent down and picked him up with my right arm which supported his bare bum as my left hand had a plate full of scrambled eggs. As he hugged me, we walked to the table, and I placed him in his seat and set the eggs in the middle. Those two began to dig in, and I went upstairs to wake the others. After 5 minutes everyone was sitting down at the table enjoying each other’s company.

“What are we doing today?” Asked Lincoln.

“It all depends on you boys. We can watch a movie again, we can go somewhere…

“Pittsburgh or Christian’s house,” Lincoln interrupted.

“Can we?” Spoke Ryker, “we’ve never been to Pittsburgh.”

“Umm,” I chuckled, “not this weekend, but I’m sure we can schedule something.”

“So what are we gonna do then?” Jacob questioned.

“Well, I think it would be a good idea to go get you boys wetsuits for when we pull the boat out of storage.”

“What’s a wetsuit?” Asked Clayton.

“A Wetsuit keeps you warm in chilly water temperatures. So you put the wetsuit on, and you can be warm while in the water.”

“Do you wear anything underneath?”

“All depends, I know some people who wear nothing underneath, but I wear underwear. However, I do tend to get wedgies sometimes.”

“I don’t wanna wear nothing underneath, I hate wedgies,” Ryker said.

“Same,” chimed Lincoln.

“Well let’s wait and see,” I said.

“Can we go in the hot tub after breakfast?” Asked Jacob.

“Yeah! ” agreed the other three.

“Umm sure, but Jacob I want to speak to you before we go in okay?”

“Am I in trouble?”

“Absolutely not!” I reassured. We were at the table for another 15-20 minutes before the boys were itching to go into the hot tub. I told them to wait until after Jacob, and I spoke, and told them to get ready. Which consisted of grabbing towels as they were planning to skinny dip.

Together Jacob and I went up to his room to discuss next weekend.

“So,” I said as I sat down on his bed. “I wanna talk to you about your grandparents.”

“Like my birth grandparents Or my real grandparents?” Jacob said removing his shirt as he was getting ready to go in the hot tub.

“Your real grandparents? Oh you mean grandma and grandpa Hamel… you had me confused,” I chuckled. “Well, unfortunately, it’s about your birth grandparents.”

“What about them,” Jacob asked as he went to his bathroom to get a towel.

“Hey buddy, I think it would be a good idea to come sit down and stop worrying about the hot tub right now.”

“Okay? But why?” Jacob questioned as he returned with a towel and sat down beside me, placing the towel over his privates.

“It’s… it’s umm… it’s about next weekend. Nothing is official, but they have requested that you spend next weekend at their home. They are calling it a trial run.”

Jacob didn’t say a word, he was thinking everything over and looking at me as if he was about to cry.

“Now Jacob, nothing is set in stone, which means, things could change.”

“But… but… I thought I wasn’t leaving your house?” Jacob said as a tear rolled down his cheek.

“I’m trying to do everything I can to not let this happen.”

“I don’t wanna go,” he said as the emotions came over him. Jacob began bawling as he leaned his head against me, “They… they don’t even like me.”

“Shhh… shhh. It’s okay buddy,” I said trying to calm him down.

“Garret, please don’t make me go, I… I… I don’t like them… they.”

“Shhh, Jacob, easy… nothing is for sure.”

“Then why’d you tell me,” Jacob said as he picked up his head to look me in the eyes.

“Because you need to know son… it’s vital, and you need to know what’s happening in your life. I have always told you, boys, what going on, and this is no different. But I want you to know this, I promise you, that you won’t ever have to spend more than two nights at a time in their home… EVER!”

“O… okay,” Jacob said as he wiped his eyes.

“I also wanted to say that I think it would be smart to tell your brothers, but if you don’t want to, I will wait to do so.”

“Ummm… we should probably tell them.”

“I agree,” I said.

Jacob was calming down until he thought of George’s birthday party and that brought back all the tears, “I am going to miss George’s birthday, he is gonna hate me.”

“Aww buddy,” I said and embraced him in a hug again. “I promise George will understand.”

“But I really wanted to go and see my cousins again. And… and I’m gonna miss them.”

“Well let’s worry about that next weekend, okay?”

Jacob just sniffled and didn’t say a word.

“Hey buddy, I just wanna tell you that I love you and you can come to me anytime and talk about this. Whatever you are feeling, come talk to me. I’m here for you.” I said and kissed the top of his head.

“Umm… will.., nevermind,” Jacob spoke. “Can we go in the hot tub.”

“Can I get a big hug?”

Jacob cracked a half smile and spoke, “yeah.”

“Good,” I said and pulled him into my lap for a bear hug. “Love you, buddy.”

“Love you too.”

We released our hug, and I went to my room to throw on a pair of swim trunks. The four boys were already outside waiting when I reached the main floor, so I went outside to lift the cover off the tub. We all jumped in as I found my usual spot in the corner where I could stretch out my legs. My lap was quickly taken by Clayton as he rested his head on my chest with his head barely above the water line. Lincoln and Jacob took the other corners. While Ryker was in the middle of Lincoln and me.

“Why does Clay always get your lap!” Asked Ryker.

“Cause I’m the cutest,” returned Clayton.

“No, you aren’t… I am,” spoke Lincoln.

“We all know… I’m the best looking,” Ryker chimed.

“Are you guys really arguing who is the best looking? I mean we all know I’m the cutest,” I said which caused them to giggle and put an end to the argument.

“But why does Clay always get your lap?” Asked Ryker.

“He just got here first,” I joked.

“Plus Garret’s legs keep me above water,” giggled Clayton. His comment started the argument again which went back and forth between Lincoln, Ryker, and Clayton. Meanwhile, Jacob was silent, so silent I almost forgot he was in the hot tub. I looked over at him, and he just seemed down, as he didn’t really have an expression on his face. You could tell that he was anxious about next weekend, as was I. Although, I’d figure I would just keep my eye on him for the moment.

After the arguing ceased, I was finally able to step in and tell the boys about Jacob.

“Since this silly argument is over, I have some news for you boys. Jacob you wanna come sit beside Clayton?”

“Uhh yeah,” Jacob said as he jumped onto my lap.

“So boys, you may have noticed that Jacob and I went out to dinner earlier in the week. There is a reason for it, and it’s not a very easy explanation. But to start, Jacob was born to a different mother than you three. You had the same father but different mothers… it doesn’t…”

“So?” Lincoln said in an aggressive tone, cutting me off. “I don’t care, he’s still my brother to me.”

“Oh he is still your brother, you guys share the same father. Technically you guys are half brothers.”

“No he’s not my half-brother,” Lincoln said getting worked up. “He is my full brother.”

“Yeah same,” spoke Ryker.

“And he is not different to me from you three,” I said. “But he has a different mother. Jacob’s birth mother died two days after giving birth, so your father had 100% custody rights. Nevertheless, since your father passed away, the custody rights of Jacob were thought to go to me. There has been a slight bump in the road, and that bump is Jacob’s birth mom’s parents. His birth grandparents are considering an option in which they take Jacob to live with them. Like I promised Jacob, I will do everything I can to make sure this doesn’t happen. I now have a legal team involved as well as Laura Deon, Kelly’s supervisor. Laura and my team are trying to make sure he doesn’t go with them. Next weekend is possibly the first trial run for Jacob living with the grandparents, as he might go and stay with them for two nights. But Like I was saying, I don’t plan on letting it happen,” I said. “Do you guys have any questions? Jacob and I have already talked, so if you want to ask me something…. go for it.”

“So basically what you’re saying is Jacob might not live with us?” Lincoln bluntly said.

“Yes, there is a chance of that… but no one is sure yet. We are trying to tackle this obstacle one step at a time. I know Laura is trying to block the visit for next weekend.”

“Isn’t Laura the mean one? Like the lady who tried to take us away?” Asked Ryker.

“Yes she was, but now she is on our side. We are going to need to trust her,” I said.

“I don’t like her,” responded Lincoln.

“I’m not a fan either, but if she keeps Jacob in our family, then I will be forever grateful to her,” I returned. “Does anyone have any more questions?”

I wasn’t expecting many at the moment, but I definitely killed the mood since we were silent for the next 5 minutes as we got out of the tub and inside. I tried to bring some happiness back into the picture when I told them to go get changed because we were buying wetsuits. However, it didn’t really work. The boys came downstairs dressed, and we loaded into the Benz.

We went into the local outdoors shop which was about 10 minutes away, and the boys all had a chance to buy their own wetsuits. We had trouble finding one for Clayton but ultimately went with one that was a size too big for him but considering he will grow into it, it was a good purchase.

After we bought the wetsuits, the rest of the day was pretty anticlimactic. We went home and prepared dinner. Before we knew it, bedtime was around the corner. I put all the boys to sleep and went into my bedroom where I shortly collapsed into a deep sleep.



Sunday, March 28th, 2016

Sunday morning did not start out too good. Lincoln, was triggered multiple times which sent him into 2 or 3 PTSD attacks. Every time, it killed me to see him suffer an attack, but the worst part was I felt helpless. I couldn’t do anything to prevent them, and during the hour or so of recovering, I was a broken record on repeat. Hopefully, tomorrows therapy session will lead to some kind of breakthrough.Besides the rough morning, the rest of the day went by smooth. I received calls from my parents and even talked to Lucas. I speak with my parents almost every day, so they are familiar with the circumstances. I also learned that they plan on driving up Wednesday and staying with us for George’s Party. I talk to Lucas 2 or 3 times a week, but we’ve both been swamped the past couple of weeks, so I updated him on all the current events.

I also had three missed calls with no voicemails. I assumed it was either Thomas or Debra trying to reach me, but I listened to my legal team and Laura to avoid contact.

Speaking of phone calls, I heard from Berry Rodgers and officer Rory. I wasn’t expecting the phone call, but it was just a checkup. Berry told me that they’re making progress and piecing information together, but he still had a long ways to go. So no new information on that end.

Before long the day was over, and it was time for bed.



Part – 3

Monday morning we woke to our typical routine. Rita was back making breakfast, and the boys were eager to tell her about their wetsuits. I almost think Clayton wanted to put his own. However, it would have taken too much time. The boys ate, and we were on our way to school.

Once I returned, I went to my office to give Laura a call.

“Hello?”

“Hi, it’s Garret Hamel.”

“Hi Garret, uhh there a problem?”

“Umm no I uhh… was hoping to find more information.”

“About?”

“Jacob?” I said.

“Nothing has changed unless you have had contact with Thomas or Debra.”

“Nope, I think he has tried to call me a few times, but I’ve never picked up.”

“That’s probably for the best, we haven’t heard anything on our end either.”

“So,” I began, “when are you going to block the visit?”

“We won’t know until Friday afternoon.”

“Friday? Isn’t that cutting it a little close?”

“No, I have one shot at this. Friday is the best chance.”

“What exactly are you gonna do?”

“Well,” stated Laura. “From our records, we don’t have a home inspection. So if I wait till Friday and ask a judge to block the visit for that reason, it may work.”

“Why wait till Friday?”

“Because Thomas and Debra will have less time to fight the block. If I do it Thursday or earlier, they could get a home inspection or have a judge overturn it.”

“But isn’t it your responsibility to schedule the home visit?”

“Yes, but they haven’t given us any times which would work for them.”

“Ohhh…. okay,” I chuckled.

“Exactly, but I’m not sure if it will work. I’ve never tried anything like this before.”

“Well keep me updated please.”

“Will do… and Garret. Try to loosen up, I can feel the tension in your voice through the phone. You need to trust me, and just worry about taking care of the boys.”

“Easier said than done.”

“Well try okay? You probably won’t hear from me until Thursday or even Friday.”

“Alright Laura, I guess I don’t really have any other choice but to trust you.”

“You need to. Talk later,” Laura said and hung up. I was honestly sick to my stomach after this phone call. I couldn’t believe we were trying to prevent the trial run on the day it starts. For me, that’s too close to call, and I hated the fact that I had to put all my trust in Laura. She was so different from working with Kelly as Kelly explained more. But I couldn’t dwell on this all day as I had to go pick up Clayton in a few hours and then take Lincoln and Jacob to therapy.

To kill some time and take away some stress from the Jacob situation, I went to the basement for a hardcore work out. It was good, and much needed, I had sweat dripping off of me by the time I was finished. I went upstairs got a shower and changed into clothes. After, I was on my way to get Clayton and bring him home.

Once home, Rita did a good job of distracting him as they went upstairs for Clayton to try his wetsuit on again. Afterward, they baked banana bread, and like always, Clayton was covered in debris. As they were cleaning up, I was out the door to go pick up Lincoln and Jacob.

We arrived at Ruth’s office, and Jacob went in first followed by Lincoln about an hour after. After Lincoln went in, it was my turn to talk with Ruth.

“So any improvements?” I asked as I sat down.

“Nothing on Lincoln’s end, but Jacob opened about up this weekend. He is anxious about missing his cousins birthday.”

“Yeah, but he hasn’t opened up about the abuse from his father?”

“No, not yet.”

“I mean come on, how long is this going to take?”

“Listen, I’ve told you multiple times that therapy takes a while. Kids don’t open up, you need to make a connection.”

“I know but I thought I would see some progress, Lincoln is still having major PTSD flashbacks and you haven’t made much progress on Jacob.”

“I beg to differ with Jacob, I believe he is slowly opening up to you and me.”

“Okay I can give you that, but what about Lincoln?”

“I don’t know yet, he is very reserved when he comes in here… ya know? Maybe it would help if you sit in on a therapy session. Give me one more attempt by myself this Thursday, and if that doesn’t work, then you should sit in. It might put him at ease to have someone he trusts and loves in the room.”

“Look, I’ll do anything to get Lincoln over this current hurdle in his life.”

“Well, I think that’s our next step. Now have you noticed any changes at home?”

“Nothing drastic, Lincoln’s PTSD still takes a while to overcome, and Jacob, well he’s been such a warrior the past few days.”

“Uh huh…. and how are you doing Garret?”

“Chugging along, I’m just worried. Ever since these boys have entered my life, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions.”

“Well if my opinion matters, I think you’re doing a fine job. You didn’t exactly become a foster parent of the easiest children.”

“No I didn’t, but I like a challenge, and I love those boys.”

“I’m glad to hear,” Ruth said with a smile.

“Well, are we finished today?”

“I believe so, see you on Thursday.”

“Bye-bye”

As I walked out of the office the boys were ready to get home, I slipped one arm around Lincoln and my other around Jacob and we went to the car. Once everyone was buckled in, we were on our way home.

“So how was school?”

“Guess what?” Lincoln enthusiastically said.

“What?”

“You’re the final person to have a presentation! Isn’t that cool?”

“For Friday? Oh boy, added pressure,” I joked.

“You know the best part? I get to eat lunch with you!”

“Wait what’s happening?” Asked Jacob.

“5th grade has career day, so Garret is coming in to speak! I’m so excited,” Lincoln explained. “Garret gets to come into school for most of the day and eat lunch with me and the other moms or dads.”

“Aww, I wanna be there,” stated Jacob.

“Well, I will be there for you to when it’s time for your career day in 5th grade,” I remarked.

“Promise?”

“Absolutely!” I said. The rest of the car ride was spent talking about random things. Once we arrived home, Rita had the table set and dinner almost ready. Apparently Lincoln didn’t have homework tonight, and everyone else finished theirs earlier, so people were free to do what they wanted.

Rita was cooking fajitas, one of my all time favorites…. who am I kidding, I love all of Rita’s cooking. However, her fajitas always put me in a good mood! I hollered for the boys to come down for dinner and within minutes everyone was gathered around the table.

Rita brought over the steak, vegetables, sour cream, guac, and cheese, while I brought over the salsa and tortillas. Before I even sat down, the boys were passing dishes around, and food was being devoured. Dinner probably lasted 30 minutes, I let the boys go upstairs, and I helped Rita clean up. All in all, it was a good day, until my cell phone rang. I dug into my pocket and saw it was a call from my sister.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Garret! Have you heard from Christian?”

“Umm no, why?”

“He was supposed to be home 2 hours ago… we tried tracking him on his phone and nothing. I’ve called him, and he hasn’t answered. I think his phone is shut off.”

“Does he have soccer practice?”

“No… he found out if he made the team or not today,” Kelly said as she began to cry. “I just don’t know where he is.”

“Did you try the school?”

“Yeah, they said he got on the school bus.”

“Okay okay… umm have you contacted the police?”

“Yes we gave it an hour or two beforehand, but Tom just called them now.”

“Is everything okay?” Rita whispered trying to get information

“Umm okay, what are some of his favorites spots?” I asked Kelly

“Christian has gone missing,” I whispered to Rita.

“What?” Lincoln shouted. I didn’t know Lincoln had entered the kitchen as I was turned the other way. “Where is he?”

Kelly began listing some spots, “umm.. the mall but Tom is already on his way there. Umm the soccer fields… your house… we just need to find him, the sun is already setting.”

“Okay Kelly, I’m just going to start driving down to your area to see if I can help or and possibly locate him.”

“Oh thank you, Garret… I was told by the police to stay home in case Christian comes back or tries to contact Home.”

“I’ll be on the road in 5 minutes, I’ll call you in a bit,” I replied and hung up. I immediately looked at Rita, and I don’t even think I needed to ask her because she spoke first and said, “Go, I can get the boys to bed and everything.”

“Thank you, Rita,” I replied.

“Wait…. what is happening?” Lincoln worriedly asked.

“Christian hasn’t returned home, so I’m going to go search for him.”

“I’m coming,” insisted Lincoln.

“No, you have school tomorrow.”

“But I wanna help.”

“I love that you want to help, but you have to get up early.”

“Please?”

“No,” I said and ran upstairs to slip shoes and a jacket on, but Lincoln followed me up the steps to his room.

“I’m coming!” He shouted as Lincoln put on sweatpants and a hoodie. I had just finished putting my jacket on when I stopped in his room and rested my hands on his shoulders.

“Lincoln listen to my words… no, it will be too late. You have school.”

“But,” the boy said as he appeared to be in tears. “Christian is my cousin, and-and I won’t be able to sleep if I know he’s not safe. Please, Garret, Let me help. I lo… like Christian a lot and I just want to help you find him.”

“He’s important to you, isn’t he?”

“Very,” Lincoln replied wiping his eyes.

“No complaints tomorrow morning… promise?”

“Promise.”

“Alright, come on… let’s go,” I replied, and we exited his room for the garage. On our way out, I updated Rita, and as always she was a rockstar. Lincoln and I hopped in the GLS around 6:35 and we were on our way to my sister’s house.

About 10 minutes in, I called my sister, and there was no update. All we know was Christian wasn’t at the mall. I hung up and stepped on the gas pedal just a bit more, trying to get to Kelly’s house.

“You think he is okay?” Lincoln asked.

“I hope so kiddo.”

“How long has Christian been missing and did he run away? Or was he kidnapped? Where would he have gone?”

“Lincoln!” I said trying to remain calm. “I don’t know any more information than you do. But we are heading to Aunt Kelly’s house to see if we can help.”

“I’m just really worried about him.”

“So am I kiddo, we just need to hope for the best.”

“What if he is not okay?” Lincoln said as he began tearing up.

“Don’t think about the negatives, only the positives! We are gonna find him, and he is going to be fine,” I said as I reached over and rubbed his shoulder. “We are about 20-25 minutes from Aunt Kelly’s, why don’t you try to send Christian a few texts on my phone. See if they get through.”

“Okay… umm what should I say?”

“Well, whatever you would like to say that Christian would respond to.”

“O… okay?” Lincoln said as he thought for a second before typing away. I wasn’t sure what he sent him, but I think Lincoln sent nine or ten messages until we reached Kelly’s house.

I pulled into the driveway and Kelly was outside pacing back and forth. She was extremely nervous, as I would be too. I turned the car off as Lincoln, and I stepped out of the GLS.

“Oh Garret, please tell me you have heard something,” Kelly said as she walked over and gave me a hug.

“No, not yet.”

“He isn’t at the soccer fields either,” Kelly said.

“Well send us to the next location then.”

“Oh honey,” Kelly spoke as she noticed Lincoln and gave him a hug. “You didn’t have to come, you have school tomorrow.”

“I know, but I want to help look for Christian,” Lincoln replied as he released the hug.

“You’re so sweet, I know Christian will be happy you are looking out for him.”

“We are family,” Lincoln said, “isn’t this what we are supposed to do?”

“Well,” Kelly said as she snuck a glance at me, “I know you understand what it means to be a Hamel.”

“I hope so!” Lincoln returned.

“Oh I’m so happy you’ve joined this family,” Kelly spoke as she gave him another hug. “So Tom has checked the mall and the soccer fields… I don’t even know where to begin.”

“Lincoln and I will just start driving the streets heading south-southeast on some back roads. I doubt he went into the city, let’s hope not. But Kelly, make sure you have your phone charged, okay?”

“Yeah, keep me updated on your location,” Kelly said.

We jumped back in the SUV and headed south. We weren’t looking anywhere specific. Honestly, my hope was we would find him sitting on the side of the road or walking home.

An hour passed and that’s when fear really began to sink in. I got off the phone with Kelly, and she said Tom had driven around 100 miles looking for him and was coming back for a break. We were actually close to the city limits, probably 10 minutes out and only 15 minutes away from Lincoln’s old home, so I thought it would be best to avoid that area and head back to Kelly’s house for a short break.

As we began to turn around on this dirt road we caught the break we were looking for, my phone started ringing, and the caller ID read Christian’s.

I quickly answered, “Christian? Where the hell are you?”

“Un… Uncle G, I… I really messed up.”

“It’s okay kiddo, just tell me where you are.”

“I don’t know where I am.”

“Okay,” I said. “Umm… you have the iPhone, correct?”

“Yeah, but it’s about to die. I’m at 2%. I’m scared Uncle G.”

“Okay umm… go and send me your location through text message.”

“How do I do that?”

“Umm go to our text chat with me, and hit the information Symbol on the upper right side.”

“My phones at 1%, I don’t know where I am.”

“Christian… it’s okay, just send me your location and don’t move,” I commanded. “Hello? Christian you still here?”

Silence, Christian was gone, I didn’t know if he hung up or if his phone died, but his location did not appear. I pulled off to the side of the road so Lincoln and I could watch for the text.

One minute went by, and nothing…

Two minutes and I feared he didn’t send the message in time.

Three minutes, Ding! And I exhaled a deep breath. I clicked on his location, and he was 20 minutes southwest of Lincoln and I. I put his location into the GPS, and we were on our way. About 5 minutes into the drive I called Kelly.

“Hello,” she answered.

“Kelly! We have a location, we are about 20 minutes out!”

“Oh my god, thank you thank you thank you… where is he?”

“About 45 minutes southeast of you guys. I’m heading there now. I’ll bring him back.”

“Oh thank you, Garret oh my god, thank you! Let us know whats happening.”

“I will sis, don’t worry it’s gonna be good. We know where he is! We are on our way.”

“Okay thank you.” Kelly cried, “thank you!”

I hung up, and Lincoln and I were in route to Christian. The GPS said 15 minutes from our location, but that 15 minutes felt like an hour.

I arrived at Christians destination around 9:15. We were in the parking lot of an old abandoned auto garage, and we saw Christian was sitting against the building. As soon as he saw that it was my car, Christian dropped his head in embarrassment.

“Hey Lincoln, could you stay in the car, please? I need to speak with Christian alone,” I spoke as I shifted the car into park but left it running.

“But I wanna talk to him.”

“You’ll get your chance, I promise,” I replied and tousled his hair. I took the keys with me but left the car running. I locked the doors to the car just in chance something crazy happened and made my way to Christian. The headlights illuminated the old abandoned garage and pavement, and as I finally reached Christian, I sat down beside him and put my arm around his shoulder.

“So… what’s up?” I asked.

“I’m an idiot,” Christian cried as he turned and collapsed into my lap. “I… I should have never trusted Austin.”

“Aww, buddy, what happened?”

“Au… Austin wanted to move things forward, and… and I said I wasn’t ready.”

“Okay? I’m proud of you. Peer pressure is a big thing Christian, and you back away from it because you weren’t comfortable.”

“But.”

“But what?

“But… but he broke up with me,” Christian cried. “He… he said I was a closet fag that needs to step out, and he… he said I wouldn’t do stuff with him because I was afraid.”

“Don’t listen to what Austin says.”

“It gets worse,” Christian cried. “He said if people knew I was gay, that I would do more stuff, so… so he threatened to tell the whole sc sc school.”

“Aww bud, I’m so so sorry,” I said.

“And my best friend texted me asking if I was gay,” Christian bawled. “I didn’t want people to know Garret, I didn’t want to deal with it. And I made the soccer team, but-but who’s gonna want to change in a dressing room with a queer.”

“What did you tell your friend?”

“I… I… I didn’t say anything, I just shut my phone off and started running… then before long it was dark, and I got lost… I’m… I’m sorry,”

“Don’t worry about it, I’m just concerned for you right now.”

“I hate Austin… you were right, he didn’t care about me. He just wanted to use me and look what happened.”

“It’s okay kiddo,” I said and kissed the top of his head.

“I.. I can’t go back to school.”

“What do you mean?”

“If it spreads that I’m gay, no one will like me.”

“Christian,” I said. “People will like you for who you are… not what your sexual orientation is… yes you will receive some hate from people, but they are just jealous and ignorant. They don’t understand.”

“I just can’t see Austin again.”

“So you’re going to let this bully bring you down? Pardon my French, but fuck ’em… you’re too good for him Christian… you can’t let him bring you down because he is a shitty person. You can’t let him affect your personality just because he didn’t get what he wanted. And you can’t let him change who you are.”

“But the whole school probably knows I’m gay now… I can’t do that, I don’t want to be known as the gay kid.”

“Sometimes in life, we have to overcome unwanted obstacles. I know this wasn’t your ideal way to come out to the public. However, we have to accept it if it is.”

“I could deny it,” Christian said.

“Yes you could, and I will support you if you want to go in that direction, but maybe you will be an inspiration for other boys or girls to come out of the closet.”

“I don’t want to be an inspiration, I just wanna live my life,” Christian cried.

“I understand kiddo,” I replied and rubbed his back. I was comforting him for around 5 minutes before I made a suggestion, “I think the one thing we need to do is get you home and your phone charged.”

“Are my parents mad?”

“I don’t think they are happy, but they are more worried than mad. You know there was a better way to handle this bud?”

“I… I know,” Christian’s cried. “Oh my god, what am I going to tell my parents. I don’t want them to know yet.”

I took a deep breath before speaking, “I don’t know if it’s avoidable Christian.”

“This sucks… I can’t go home, I’m not ready to tell them, Garret.”

“It’s okay buddy, everything will be okay.”

“No… I thought you said it was my decision when to come out or not… now it’s being forced Garret, and I don’t want to tell people.”

“Listen, we will figure something out.”

“But what though,” Christian cried as he wrapped his arm around my stomach.

“I don’t know bud, I don’t have an answer.”

“I don’t wanna go home.”

“I know… I know, but we have to kiddo. Whether you come out tonight or a different time, your parent’s will support you… I promise. But uh, there is someone in the car waiting for you.”

“Who?”

“Lincoln came, he’s been worried sick.”

“Lincoln’s here?”

“Yup, waiting in the car. Let’s go,” I said and stood up. Christian got off from the ground, and we made our way to the GLS. I hit the unlock button, and the door flung open. Lincoln came bolting out, and nearly tackled his cousin.

“I’m so happy you’re okay,” Lincoln said. “What happened?”

“Lincoln,” I said but was cut off by Christian.

“I umm… I ran away.”

“Why?” Lincoln asked as he let go of the hug

Christian looked at me, and I nodded my head in encouragement.

“I.. I gotta tell you something Lincoln, and I hope it doesn’t change anything between us.”

“Never.”

“I’m… I’m, umm… I’m gay,” Christian said as he stuttered and the tears began to come.

“Really?”

“Yeah… it doesn’t change anything does it?” Christian worriedly asked.

“N… no, I uhh… I’m. I can’t believe I’m about to say this… I’m gay too, I never thought you were.”

“What?”

“Yeah,” Lincoln said as he looked at the ground. “I like boys.”

“Whoa,” Christian said as he went to give Lincoln another hug. “I can’t believe it.”

“This is crazy,” Lincoln said.

“I… I thought I was gonna be the only gay one in the family. Garret, did you know?”

“Yes, but it wasn’t my story to tell.”

“Oh my god,” Christian said, “I can’t believe it.”

“This doesn’t change anything does it?” Lincoln asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Like we aren’t gonna be different around each other, right?. Cause, I… I umm like having you as a cousin and close friend.”

“Yeah,” Christian spoke. “I don’t want anything between us to change.”

“Yes!” Lincoln said and gave him a quick hug. “Love you cuz.”

“Like a brother,” Christian responded which caused Lincoln to giggle, “Like a brother.”

“Alright boys, into the car. I’m sure I have 10 missed calls already,” I said.

I don’t know if the boys heard me as I think they were both in shock. The two released their hugs, and we made our way into the vehicle.



Part – 4

The ride to Kelly’s was amusing, not only did we have Kelly call us twice to make sure we were okay but the boys were chatting about their newly discovered comparisons. The questions were basic like, when did you know and who have you told. The questions did get a bit deeper, yet Lincoln didn’t open up about the night he lost his parents, even though it seemed Christian tried to gear his questions towards that night. I don’t know if Lincoln caught on but he was not willing to share his experiences with Christian yet, and I respected that. It wasn’t my story, so whenever Lincoln felt comfortable enough to tell Christian, I’m sure he would.

Of course, as soon as we pulled onto Christian’s street, his phone came back to life, and he was able to scroll through his messages. We were about fives houses away before Christian started to break down crying.

“What is it?” Asked Lincoln.

“Everyone knows!” He bawled.

“I’m… I’m sorry,” I said as I pulled off to the side of the road.

“Austin… Austin texted my friends and then-then took a screenshot of our conversations and put it on Twitter and Instagram. I’m… I’m gonna die, it’s been retweeted 53 times … oh my god.”

This was killing me to see, since when did children become such assholes, I know they don’t give a shit about others, but this was a low, especially from someone inside the LGBTQ community. Austin was supposed to understand what Christian was going through, and he completely threw him under the bus. I just couldn’t comprehend it.

“It’s okay kiddo, we are gonna get through this.”

“I don’t wanna go inside my house either… can’t I just come back with Lincoln and you.”

“Christian, you’re emotional right now, and you’ve got every right to be. But I promise, your parents will understand, especially with this Austin kid posting stuff.”

“I’m scared, Garret.”

“Of?” I asked as I saw Lincoln scoot over and try to comfort him.

“Everything now… you keep saying my parents will accept me, but… like what if they don’t? And now I have to deal with everyone at school knowing. It’s-it’s just not fair.”

“I agree, no one should be forced out of the closet like you have been, but you are. I’ve never dealt with this, but I can promise you this. No matter what, you have your parents support, my support, Lincoln’s support, the three Rugrats north of us, Rita, our whole entire family. You don’t need to face this alone, we will do it together.”

“Yeah,” Lincoln said who was visibly worked up, “I support you, you already know that.”

Our words weren’t helping much, so we sat in the car for a few minutes while Christian gained his composure.

“You ready bud?” I asked.

“No… but-but I don’t think I’ll ever be, so let’s just go get this out of the way.”

I put the car into drive, and within 15 seconds, we were in his driveway. As soon as I pushed off the ignition, Kelly and Ashley came sprinting out the door. Christian slowly climbed down from the car and into the waiting arms.

“Christian Gordon Schafer,” Kelly yelled, “don’t you ever do something like that again.”

“I’m… I’m sorry mom.”

“You scared us so much, what do you have to say for yourself?”

“Kelly,” Tom said walking out of the door, “let the boy come inside, he probably hasn’t eaten anything.”

“You get your butt inside,” Kelly said as we all started walking. “Oh, Garret… Lincoln, you guys have done enough for us.”

“Wait Mom, can’t they come in? Please?”

“Yeah we will be in, Lincoln go ahead, I forgot something in the car.”

“Garret,” Kelly said, “you really don’t have to stay.”

“Umm Kelly a word,” I whispered so the others wouldn’t overhear and turned back to my vehicle.

“What?” Kelly questioned as she followed.

“Umm… Christian is in some serious emotional pain right now.”

“Wh-what do you mean?”

“Umm, I think it would be best if he told you but I just wanted to give you a warning.”

“You’re scaring me,” Kelly shot back.

“Just be ready, okay?”

“Uh huh,” Kelly said, and we walked back into the house. We entered the kitchen where everyone was at the table chatting.

“Garret.. want a beer, you earned one?” Tom asked.

“Oh no thanks, we won’t be staying that long.”

“Your loss just got some new IPAs.”

“Save me one for the weekend,” I replied.

“Will do,” chuckled Tom.

“So,” Kelly spoke, “what happened?”

“Umm nothing, I just went for a run after school.”

“Uh huh, is that what really happened?”

“YES! I went for a run, my phone died, and I got lost.”

“I know the truth’” Kimberly said.

“Kim, please no,” Christian replied as he squirmed in his seat.

“What is it, Kim?”

“Here,” she said as she handed her mom the phone. “Christian it’s okay.”

“Shut up Kim,” Christian said as he began to cry.

Kelly read the phone, and her mouth dropped. But before she spoke, she passed the phone to Tom.

“Is this true honey?” Kelly asked to which Christian didn’t reply,

“Son,” Tom began, “is this true?”

Christian picked his head up and looked at me before speaking,” Yes, yes I am gay, I don’t want to be gay, but I am… I’m… I’m sorry.”

“How long have you known?” Asked Tom

“Li… li…. like two years.”

“Why didn’t you tell us you were having these feelings?”

“Because I didn’t know how’d you guys would react.”

“What?” Kelly said, “we love you honey… gay, straight, bi, trans… no matter what, we love you.”

“Yeah son, we love you no matter what.”

“Yeah!” Ashley stated, “you’re still my annoying, smelly, and adorable 13-year-old baby bro. I love you baby bro, but the ladies are definitely losing a good one!”

“Yeah the nice and cute ones are always gay,” joked Kimberly, “but it doesn’t matter to me either. Christian, we love you no matter what.”

“Yeah,” echoed Lincoln, who nudged Christian on the side, “you’re still annoying.”

“Oh shut it,” chuckled Christian through his tears.

“Christian,” I began “no matter what, it’s those inside this room and our family that know the real you. Whatever gender you like, doesn’t define who you are. We love you man, and you have my support as well as everyone back at my home.”

“So I have one question,” Ashley said, “why is this on twitter?”

“It’s a long story.”

“That needs to be addressed now,” I spoke, “but Lincoln and I have to return home before it’s too late. So Lincoln start making the goodbye rounds.”

“Okay,” Lincoln said with a yawn. He began making his round similar to myself, and before long we were in the car and heading for home.

The clock read 11:15, and just started our way home.

I heard a few sniffles come from Lincoln, “You okay?”

“Yeah, I just don’t know why people are so mean.”

“I couldn’t tell you bud,” I replied.

“It just sucks, I don’t know if I will ever tell anyone I’m gay.”

“Too late, I already know.”

“You don’t count!” Giggled Lincoln.

“What? I don’t count!” I jokingly fired back.

“Well you’re special, I can talk to you about anything. What I meant was like, someone my age.”

“Well you got that right, you can talk to me about anything,” I said.

“I know.”

“You better!” I chuckled. After our brief conversation, I think Lincoln fell asleep, and the rest of the car ride home was silent.

About 25 minutes later, we arrived home and pulled into the garage. No one was to be found, so I assumed Rita was downstairs in her spare room. I had to carry Lincoln up, but I didn’t mind, as I placed him in his bed. I just stared at my beautiful sleeping angel, he looked so innocent, as I brushed his hair to the side I kissed him on his forehead. Before I left, I removed his sweatpants, but kept his underwear and hoodie on, as he was bundled up. I gave him another kiss and went to check on the other boys.

One by one, I stopped in their rooms kissed their foreheads and went to my room where I collapsed.

Tuesday Morning…

Oh boy was Tuesday morning rough waking up. For some reason I was exhausted, it’s not like I didn’t get enough sleep, it was just a right morning. Luckily I had Rita which meant I was able to sleep in a few more minutes. However, that plan did not go well as Clayton and Jacob came flying into the room.

“Garret! Garret! We missed you,” Clayton said as he climbed up on the bed.

“Yeah, I was worried. Where’d you go?” Asked Jacob.

“Lincoln and I had to go help Aunt Kelly and Uncle Tom.”

“Oh,” said Jacob. “I’m hungry.”

“So am I,” Clayton said.

“Well go ahead downstairs,” I stated.

“Okay,” Jacob replied and kissed my cheek “love you.”

“Yeah, love you,” Clayton said and kissed my other cheek.

“Love you guys too, umm… Tell Rita I’ll be down shortly.”

“Okay,” Jacob said as he and his brother jumped down from the bed to walk out.

I quickly looked at the clock which read 7:15, and I knew I had to get my behind in gear. I got a quick shower then went to wake up anyone still sleeping, and to my surprise, I was gonna be the last one downstairs.

7:30 came and went, we ate breakfast, and the boys went to go get ready. While waiting for them, I told Rita about last night, and she felt horrible for Christian.

Before long, it was time to go drop the boys off at school, and I quickly made it home.

I was about to take a nap, but I checked my email first and saw that the inspection had passed, which meant the building was basically ours. I wanted to call Keith, but for some reason, I just felt so tired.

I took a little siesta in the hope of raising my energy levels. However, it didn’t work. I went and picked Clayton up, and we returned home. Clayton wanted to cuddle on the couch and watch tv, and I was 1000% down with that idea. We got a blanket, and he sat on my lap resting his head on my chest. I kissed the top of his head and put some cartoons on.

After that the rest of the day went by smooth, I was expecting to hear from Kelly or Christian, but no phone call or text ever appeared. I thought about calling them but figured they had so much stress, especially Christian so I decided to save the call for tomorrow if I didn’t hear from them.

To Be Continued….

Author Notes:

Thank you for reading and following the story! Always enjoy hearing from readers!
***DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT ABUSING CHILDREN. IT IS WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS. IT HAS AN EVERLASTING EFFECT ON PEOPLE***
Third and final, the destinations, streets, events, and locations are made up. I use Columbus as a nearby city, but I’m unaware if the addresses listed are real or not. All scores and games are made up in my head. However, most teams are real.
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