Memories Part 1: The Gathering

Hey all, this is Mike, you know, the dead guy? I bet you thought I was out of this, didn’t you? Well, as soon as I moved up here, I started watching over my brothers; I was watching when they found out at the mall what happened to me, and I have been there every second since then. It’s cool not having to sleep; did you ever try to keep up with 2 teenagers? If I wasn’t already dead it would kill me! Honestly, I love both of them very much, and I do whatever I can from up here to protect them.

Later; and remember, we are watching over you!

Mike

 

The previous evening:

Dan hung around Teri’s place until he were sure that Cory was going to be okay after the fiasco at the home. It wasn’t two minutes from the time he left the driveway that his cell phone went nuts. Dan looked at the caller ID and saw it was Judge Lewis. The first thought that came to mind was “Oh shit, Social Services wants Cory!” He answered it expecting the worst, but was shocked by what he heard.

“Dan,” Judge Lewis started, “Pick up Sharon and JJ and get your butts down to the courthouse ASAP!”

“Sharon and JJ? Why? What’s happening?”

Judge Lewis cut him off. “You know that eight year old, so-called ‘angel’, that you were asking me to look into you adopting? He has two of my officers hopping on one leg and two others singing soprano right now; so get your ASSES down here before I lose any more men!” The Judge paused for a quick breath before adding; “IGNORE the FUCKING speed limit – JUST GET HERE!”

Dan was in shock, he had NEVER heard the judge use language like that! Before Dan could respond, the judge hung up. Dan called home, and told Sharon to wake up JJ and be ready to go. He opened up the throttle on his Camaro and proceeded to fly home. He slid into the driveway, and found an obviously confused wife standing with an irritated twelve year old boy on the porch. Dan waved them into the car, and explained the situation to them as he drove downtown.

“It appears that Kyle is having ‘issues’ with some of Urbandale’s finest at the courthouse. According to Judge Lewis, two officers must have got kicked in the knee; and, as he put it, two others are singing soprano.”

Dan heard barely suppressed giggles coming from the back seat. “He kicked them in the nuts, huh Dad?”

“I’m glad to see you’re listening, JJ.” Dan replied. “Because you are probably the only person who can calm the little shit down.”

“Why is he at the courthouse?” asked Sharon.

“Well, by the time we were done at the home tonight it ended up being shut down by the State Police!”

The car fell silent as they all considered the implications of the home being closed.

Dan mentally reviewed what he knew about Kyle’s recent history. Last winter Kyle’s mom was killed in an auto accident when a truck hit an ice patch on I-80. His father was a total prick who lost parental rights a year before; so there was nobody left to take care of Kyle, and he ended up at the home. Social Services had called Dan in because Kyle had major problems; after Dan’s first meeting with Kyle he knew that normal therapy would not work. As an experiment, Dan brought Kyle home over a weekend to see if maybe having another kid to talk to in a neutral environment would help; and got the shock of his life. Kyle immediately hit it off with JJ; within a few hours they were inseparable. Dan managed to convince the home to agree to alternating weekend visits as part of the treatment plan; one weekend Kyle would come home with Dan, and the next weekend JJ would visit Kyle at the home. Unfortunately, they would not allow JJ to sleep over or Kyle to come over every weekend, and Dan did not want to push his luck by forcing them to; not with him treating Cory at the same time. Two months ago, Dan asked Judge Lewis to look into the legality of them adopting Kyle; by that time JJ had somehow convinced Kyle that he could trust Dan. That put Dan on the short list of adult males Kyle felt that he could trust; in fact he was the only entry on the list.

There was only one other person that Kyle would have anything to do with at the home, and that was Cory. For the last couple of months, they had decided to start sharing their appointment times; it became a double length group session instead of two one-on-one sessions. It seemed to do both of them good; they helped to support each other, and would yield to whichever had the most pressing thing to discuss.

As they pulled up to the courthouse, Dan noticed an officer waving him into the “police only” spot in front of the door. “Damn,” he thought, “he must have REALLY gone off the deep end!”

They walked in to find an officer blocking access to the courtroom. Even through the thick oak doors, they could just hear the sound of Kyle mouthing off to someone inside. Once Dan introduced himself and his family to the officer, the officer moved from in front of the doors and waved them through.

“OK, JJ; you go first.” Dan said.

“Thanks Dad, it’s nice to know that you need me to deal with your problems!” JJ replied with a giggle and a sarcastic grin.

JJ opened the door. “KYLE CALVIN HODGES! ZIP THAT LIP AND PLANT YOUR BUTT ON THE GROUND, NOW!!!!” he yelled as he stepped through the doorway.

They followed the officer through the door, and even the termites were frozen in shock! Kyle was sitting on the floor with a look of absolute amazement on his face; he had never seen JJ reprimand him for anything, so he knew he had really screwed up. Judge Lewis was sitting there open-mouthed, since he had never seen a display like that from JJ either!

JJ walked over to Kyle; as he walked up, Kyle looked down at the floor and started crying. JJ knelt in front of him and gently put his fingers under Kyle’s chin, lifting it up until they were looking eye-to-eye. “Hey little buddy. Sorry I yelled, but you were so wild it was the only way to get through to you. I got outta bed and hurried over here for you; do you think we can sit down and let my Dad and the judge figure out what’s goin on?”

Kyle nodded his head; after JJ stood up, Kyle jumped up and wrapped his arms around JJ. Somehow, JJ carried Kyle to the witness chair and sat down with Kyle cuddling on his lap.

Judge Lewis started shaking his head in disbelief, and then waved toward Sharon and Dan. “Could you two please join me in my chambers; we have some urgent things to discuss. Boys, will you be OK out here by yourselves?”

Both boys nodded, so they headed into the chambers. “Dan, Sharon.” Judge Lewis started, “I hated to call you this late, but we have an urgent problem.”

“What’s that? We didn’t need to come in here just because you found an eight year old with a very accurate foot.” Dan asked while holding back a grin.

“Smart aleck!” Judge Lewis muttered as he sat down. “Actually, thanks to the scandal at the home, we’ve got to find temporary placements for all of the kids. All of them but Kyle should have been released according to the real records. Kyle’s case is unique; there is only one situation where he can be released, otherwise he is going to have to be put in a mental hospital. At least that’s what your case notes say; are they accurate?”

Dan grimaced. “Unfortunately they are correct, he still has serious trust issues.”

“Well, there’s only one acceptable solution then. Dan, a while back you asked me to look into making Kyle a part of your family; are you still considering that option?”

Dan looked at the judge in shock. “You better believe I am; I thought there was no chance since you never got back with me.”

Judge Lewis smiled. “The false reports that were being filed blocked it, but now that we’ve got the real reports the situation is totally different. If the two of you are willing, I’ll release Kyle to you tonight; in fact I have enough of the paperwork completed for you to give a certain eight-year-old a huge surprise by lunch tomorrow. I’ll call as soon as it’s ready.”

Dan looked at Sharon, her smile answered the unspoken question. He turned back to the judge. “Finish the paperwork; this will make two boys tonight that I’m making sure get to go home.”

A few minutes later, they came back into the courtroom. Kyle was still on JJ’s lap, excitedly telling JJ about the events at the home earlier in the evening. All three adults smiled as they silently watched the boys interact; to the casual observer, it looked like a normal little brother relating his day to a loving big brother.

Dan waited for Kyle to pause before interrupting. “Boys, it’s been a long day. What would you say about loading up and heading home?”

Kyle looked over at Dan. “I ain’t got a home no more; you shut it down! If you leave, I’ll never see JJ again!”

Dan phrased his response carefully. “Kyle, did you hear me say ‘boyS’? That means both of you; Judge Lewis thinks the best place for you is coming home with us. You are not going to lose JJ; you will live with us now.”

Kyle spun to JJ. “Is he for real? Are you goin’ to let me stay with you for a while?”

JJ smiled at the little imp on his lap. “Kyle, you know Dad don’t lie. I’ve been begging him for you to stay with us forever; I think Judge Lewis is gonna try to make that happen. If I get my way, you ain’t never gonna leave again.”

Kyle wrapped himself around JJ. “Thank you! I wish you were my big brother, you’re kewl.”

Dan overheard Kyle as he joined the boys. “Kyle, say an extra prayer tonight. You might just have your wish come true.” He picked Kyle up off of JJ’s lap and held him to his chest. “Come on, little man, it’s time to go home.”

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