by Jason Finigan

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. This story may contain scenes which involve sexual situations between young males. If this type of material is offensive to you, or it is not legal for you to be reading this type of material, please do not read any further. This story is copyright © 2008 by Jason Finigan, all rights reserved. Please do not copy this story for distribution or post on any online server without the author's permission. Please send all your comments to: . You can also visit my website at: .

Please note that due to an incompatibility with certain stories within the CSU, some things have been altered so as to disassociate this story from that group. I appologize for any confusion this might cause.

From the last chapter:

I left him then to do his business in the bathroom, and talked for a bit with Mark and Kristen in the Kitchen. A few minutes later, Timmy came back in and we were all set to go.

"What time do you have to go in to work?" Mark asked me.

"It's my day off," I told him.

"You should probably figure on taking a few days off at least," Kristen said. Timmy is going to need a lot of attention from the both of you.

"I guess I could call in, but the boss is not going to like it," I said.

"If he gives you any hassle, just have him talk to me," Kristen said.

"Oh, I'd hate to be on the other end of that conversation," Mark snickered.

"You and me both, hon," I said, smiling at the thought of Kristen giving my boss a piece of her mind. She's one lady you just do not want to mess around with.

"Alright, Timmy. Go get your boots and jacket on," Mark told him.

"Okay, Poppa," Timmy said, and made his way to the front door, with the rest of us following behind him.

Chapter 3

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital
Saturday, November 22th, 2008, 9:15am.

I don't know who was more nervous arriving at the hospital, Mark or myself. Walking in through those two large automatic doors was the most nerve wracking experience of my life. I was so scared for Timmy, and dreaded whatever it was the doctors might find. I just hoped to God that Timmy was okay because I don't know what I'd do to his mother otherwise.

Timmy was holding onto Kristen's hand in front of us. He kept looking behind to make sure that we were right behind him, smiling when he saw us. I guess Kristen knew where we were going, which I was glad for because I'm certain that I'd not have a clue as to what to do, or where we had to go to meet this doctor who was going to examine Timmy. Kristen signed in at the reception desk just inside the entrance, then led us through a couple doors that took us deeper inside. The fact that she knew her way around as she did actually sent shivers up my spine. 'How many times has she had to do this?' I began to wonder, shaking my head as I had a feeling I really didn't want to know. In my view, just once was once too many. No one should ever have to go through what Timmy's gone through in his short life.

When I first met Timmy, he was a frightened little boy sitting alone in the food court. Hungry, and abandoned, I could see it in his eyes that he felt as if he was to blame for what his mother did to him. I think he still does. No matter what Mark and I and even Kristen tell him, I think that somewhere deep down inside he still believes that he must have done something to make his mother leave him like she did. Knowing that made me really sad. There are times now that I just want to pick him up and hold him in my arms and never let him go, to show him that he's not the one to blame, that he's loved and that someone wants him to be happy.

Kristen led us to an office, knocking on the door, opening it once she heard a muffled voice from within telling us to come in. Seated behind a desk was a fairly young looking doctor, probably in his early to late thirties. He had short brown hair, with fairly thick sideburns. His eyes were a nice shade of blue, with just a hint of some grey in them. What was most striking though was his face, which featured what to me looked like a permanent smile. Either this doctor was a very happy person, or the one thing my mother used to tell me was true. If you keep your face a certain way, it'll become permanent. Beside the doctor stood an older woman; I'd guess she was in her late forties. Despite her age, she actually looked very beautiful. Her hair, which was strawberry blond in colour, was worn loosely about her shoulders. From the fairness of her skin, I guessed that she didn't get out of the office very often, and certainly didn't spend a lot of time in the sun when she did go out. Her eyes were so different though. They were a very bright shade of green which I found really interesting. If I didn't know any better I'd have thought that she wasn't in fact human.

"Ms. Jacobs, welcome. I'm Doctor Chad Miller and this is Doctor Catherine Phillips," the doctor said, standing up from behind his desk.

"Good morning, Doctor Miller," Kristen said. "This is Dale and Mark Evans, my Nephews. And this little one here is Timmy."

"You're a couple then?" Doctor Miller asked, his expression one of surprise.

"Yeah, for the last two years now," I said proudly. "But we were dating for a few years before then."

"Well, congratulations then. I certainly hope that my son gets to find someone special like you have. We just recently joined PFLAG. He was so scared to come out to us, but it turned out well in the end. Now my wife and I are learning all we can about dealing with issues that our son might face."

"Sounds like he has two very wonderful parents," Mark said.

"Well, my wife and I like to think we are," Doctor Miller chuckled. "But there are days he drives us up the wall. Teenagers!" This last comment he said while shaking his head.

"Sounds like you wouldn't trade this experience for the world," Mark said, laughing with the rest of us.

"Very true. Now, let's see if we can't help out this little fella," Doctor Miller said before squatting down in front of Timmy.

"I'm Timmy," Timmy said shyly to Doctor Miller.

"Nice to see you, Timmy. Do you know why you're here?" he asked gently.

"Uh uh," Timmy said, shaking his head.

"Well, we're going to make sure that your mommy didn't hurt you."

"She never hurt me, Doctor. She just liked touching my pee pee," Timmy told him honestly.

"Yes, and it wasn't nice of her to do that. Mommies aren't supposed to touch their children like that."

"Oh, that's what Daddy said too," Timmy said looking up at me.

"Well, he's right. You're a very well mannered boy, Timmy. Think we could be friends?" Doctor Miller asked.

"Sure," Timmy giggled. "You're nice."

"I certainly like to think so," Doctor Miller agreed. "Now, I have to do things to make sure your mommy didn't hurt you. Normally I'd look at you by yourself, but in this case, I'll let you have someone in with you if you want."

"Can my Daddy come with us?" Timmy asked.

"If you want. But you should know that in order for me to check to make sure you're not hurt, I'll have to look at your private parts."

"You mean I'd have to get naked?" Timmy asked worriedly.

"No, Timmy. But you would have to take off your pants and undies."

"Oh," Timmy said simply, looking down at the floor.

"Timmy, remember what I told you about doctors sometimes having to look down there to make sure you're not hurt?" I asked him, seeing him hesitate.

"Uh huh," Timmy said quietly.

"That's all Doctor Miller needs to do. And I promise I'll be right there with you when he does,"

"Some of the guys mommy would have over would make me take off my undies too," Timmy said, looking down at the floor. That simple comment made everyone in the room gasp out loud.

"I'm so sorry, Timmy. I didn't know," I told him, wrapping my arms around him and pulling him into a big hug. "I promise you that the doctor just needs to make sure you're okay."

"I guess. You're not going to try to make me feel funny in my tummy?" Timmy asked, looking up at the Doctor.

"No. I promise. And when we're done, we'll get you a sucker later on okay?"

"Cool. Do you have orange? I love orange!" Timmy said excitedly.

"Yes, I think we can find you an orange sucker, Timmy," Doctor Miller laughed.

"Come on, little guy. Let's get you checked out," I told him, and together the Doctor, Timmy, and I walked out of the office to where the Doctor would perform the examination.

* * *

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital
Saturday, November 22th, 2008, 10:57am.

It seemed like the examination was going to take forever. I didn't pay much attention to what the doctor was doing as most of it was focused on Timmy, who was holding onto my hand throughout the whole thing.

When it was finally finished, we went back to the office where Mark, Kristen, and Catherine were busy chatting away. As soon as the door opened, Mark rushed over to me. I hadn't realized how the whole examination had affected me until he put his arms around me and I just melted into him, and began sobbing. It took a few minutes to get my emotions under control again, but eventually I did. I never want to ever have to go through something like that ever again. No matter how much I tried to distract Timmy, with each new test, I just became more and more sad for him.

As promised, Doctor Miler gave Timmy an orange sucker, pulling it out of a drawer in his desk. While Mark was holding onto me, Timmy went over to where Kristen was sitting and climbed up onto her lap. It's amazing how such a simple thing as a sucker can make a kid happy again.

When Mark and I finally were able to let each other go, we found a couple of chairs to sit in. Timmy climbed out of Kristen's lap and climbed up onto Mark's, cuddling into him while he played with the sucker still in his mouth.

"Ms. Jacobs, before I file this report, I do have a couple of questions to ask you," Doctor Miller said, pointedly opening up the file folder that he had brought in with him from the examination room.

"According to the records as provided by the police, Timmy was found abandoned in the Mapleview Center by his mother. Dale found Timmy, fed him, and gained his trust enough to ask him some questions, one of which led to his determining that Timmy had been molested by his biological mother."

"Correct," Kristen said, nodding her head.

"If the reported case of molestation was made yesterday, why did you not bring Timmy into the hospital then?" Doctor Miller asked, looking up at her.

"I did so for Timmy's psychological well-being," Kristen said.

"While I would not presume to tell you how to do your job, or to question your methods. I need to ask whether you are qualified to be able to make that determination?"

"Doctor," Kristen sighed. "I know you're required to ask that question. So I certainly wouldn't hold that against you. This, in fact, isn't the first time I've had to bring in a child under my care to get a rape kit done, and I certainly know of the important need to have the test taken at the earliest possible opportunity. Normally the EMS personnel would have transported Timmy to the hospital to get the kit done immediately. But in my judgment, based on what I was seeing of Timmy's reactions, taking him right away to the hospital was just out of the question.

"You have to understand that when I met Timmy, he was practically glued to Dale's leg. It took some coaxing from Dale to get Timmy to let him go just so the EMS personnel could do a physical workup on him. They insisted that Timmy get a rape kit test done, and I agreed with them, but told them that I would bring him in today, which I have."

"But why not right away? As you saw, Dale would have been permitted to be with Timmy while we did the rape kit," Doctor Miller asked.

"My first priority was to Timmy's welfare, both psychological and physical. It would have done him no good to transport him immediately. Instead, I think it would have caused him great harm. He needed to feel safe, and loved, and wanted. By taking him directly to the hospital, I felt that it would provide insufficient time for Timmy to become at least somewhat comfortable around Mark and Dale for him to be able to talk about what had happened to him in the past."

"Okay, I can see that," Doctor Miller agreed after some thought. "It still disturbs me that Timmy was not brought to the hospital immediately following the reporting of his abuse."

"I understand, Doctor. I still stand by my decision," Kristen stated with finality.

"I'd be concerned if you weren't, to be honest with you. We don't need CAS directors who are easily swayed by another person's opinion or position. I personally think you did right. I will, however, have to make a note of the fact in my report. I will, however, also make a note stating that I completely support your decision. As there's no telling when Timmy was in fact assaulted, the likelihood of us finding evidence of that assault is remote. Now, Dale and Mark, if you could do me a favor, down the hall and to the left is a Tim Horton's. I think our brave little one here deserves a treat don't you?"

"I think you're right, Doctor," Mark said, standing up.

"Doctor, I'd like it if Dale could stay for a minute. Is that okay Timmy?"

"Uh huh. Poppa will take me, and we can get Daddy something too," Timmy agreed, trying to drag Mark out of the office.

"You just had to mention Tim Horton's didn't you?" Kristen laughed.

"Well, I didn't want him to hear what I was going to say next, and actually it's a good thing you're here, Mr. Evans."

"I take it it's not something pleasant," I said.

"No. I'm afraid that I have to tell you that there was sufficient evidence to support the charge of sexual assault. My examination of Timmy's anus has revealed that he has been penetrated on more than one occasion by a large object equaling in size to an adult male's penis."

"Oh my God, no!" Kristen gasped. I just sat there, shocked. I didn't know what to say. I didn't even know what to do. I was frozen in the chair, unable to move, unable to say anything. The only thing I felt was something wet running down the side of my face.

"I'm afraid it's so. There was some tearing of the wall of his rectum, but sufficient time had passed for it to heal. As a standard part of the rape kit, we've drawn some of his blood and we're going to test him for STDs. I'll get the lab work back for most of those tests within a week. The last test, the one for HIV, will take two weeks to complete."

"Doctor, what can we expect?" I asked him, finally able to recover sufficiently enough to speak up.

"That's actually where I come in," Doctor Phillips spoke up. "I'm the hospital's Rape Crises Councilor. When he gets back, I'm going to want to speak with him, and the three of you together. I'm hoping that he'll be able to tell us more about what happened when he was with his mother, and maybe we'll have some idea as to how to proceed next."

"In the meantime, I the first test should be completed soon, and we'll know right off the bat if he might have an infection due to the tear in his rectum," Doctor Miller said.

"Doctor, is there a chance that this tear would cause complications for Timmy later on?" I asked him.

"I don't believe so. The tear was relatively minor, about as large as you would get with a paper cut. The only reason I was able to determine that there had been an injury there to begin with was due to a slight discoloration along the rectum wall. More serious is the possibility of infections such as peritonitis, which can be lethal. During my examination I noted that Timmy's temperature was running a little high. Now this could be because of stress, but we won't know for certain until the tests come back."

At that moment there was a knock on the door. Doctor Miller stood up from his seat, and opened the door, accepting an envelope from someone outside. He then returned to his chair and removed the contents from the envelope, going over them briefly before looking back up at us.

"Alright, Timmy does have an infection, but it's not something that some antibiotics can't take care quite readily. I'll write out a prescription for you which you'll need to get as soon as possible," Doctor Miller said.

"Well thank goodness for that," I said, breathing a sigh of relief.

"I'm sorry for sounding harsh regarding the possible consequences of what happened to Timmy, but I had to make sure you fully understood some of the complications that could arise. Now as Doctor Phillips has said, she'll be talking with you and Timmy shortly after they get back so we can get an idea of what went on in that household. I'll tell you honestly right now. I'm not the only one in this hospital that is ready to teach that so-called mother of his a lesson or two. But, that's for the police to handle. Did either of you have any other questions?

"AIDS," I said.

"I'm not going to lie to you, but if the situation is that Timmy was raped by one or more men who did not used condoms, and one of them were infected, it's entirely possible that Timmy has become infected as well. We won't know for certain until the tests come back in a couple weeks."

"How am I supposed to tell him that?" I said, my eyes filling up with tears over how much Timmy has had to endure, and how much he still has to go through. His mother has practically ruined his childhood, robbed him of the chance to enjoy life as a kid, and it is so not fair!

"It will be okay, Dale," Kristen said, reaching over to put her hand on mine. "However things turn out, we'll work together to get through this."

* * *

"We're back!" and excited Timmy said, running through the door, and jumping up onto my lap. His face looked like he had consumed half a box of chocolate, which , despite hearing the possibility of Timmy being HIV positive, made me laugh out loud. Did I mention that I love this little guy? Well I do.

"I can see that, buddy," I said, holding onto him as he cuddled into me and ate the rest of the donut he had been carrying when he ran into the office.

"I'll get something to clean up his face with," Doctor Phillips said, trying her best to keep a neutral face and failing miserably. A few seconds later, she returned with a wash cloth and handed it to me, which I used to clean up the mess from his face. All the while he was giggling happily, just as any nine year old would.

"I got you a donut too, Daddy," Timmy said, looking up at Mark who handed me a small paper bag inside which was my favorite; Boston Cream."

"Thanks, Timmy," I said, giving him a brief hug before digging into the donut he gave me. It definitely doesn't take long for me to devour one of those donuts, and in almost not time at all, it was gone.

"Daddy," Timmy giggled, looking at me.


"Now you're face is all dirty," he laughed.

"It is?" I asked, looking over at Kristen, who had her hand to her mouth in a useless attempt to hide her own laughter.

"Like father, like son," Mark said, shaking his head lightly. But he too was soon busting out with a laugh of his own. Pretty soon everyone was laughing in the room, including myself. Using the same cloth I had used to clean up Timmy's face, I wiped away the chocolate that had found it's place around my mouth.

"So, are we ready then?" Doctor Phillips asked once everyone had calmed down.

"I guess so," I replied.

"Where are we goin'?" Timmy asked me.

"With Doctor Phillips to talk about a few things, buddy," I told him.

"Oh. Okay," he said, jumping up off my lap.

Standing up, the five of us walked out of the room, but not before Timmy ran back to Doctor Miller and gave him a quick hug. Now that really surprised me, though I guess it shouldn't have as it was Doctor Miller who had suggested the Tim Horton's run. One day I'll have to remind Mark to never let me suggest Tim Horton's when Timmy is around. I know some people are addicted to the coffee, but Timmy is definitely addicted to the donuts.

Doctor Phillips led us to another room down the hall... away from Tim Horton's. It wasn't like the office that we had just left, in that it didn't have a desk or chairs. Rather it had a coffee table in the middle of the room, and on either side of it were two couches with a love seat at the far end. Both the couches and the love seat were made of a brown leather; or possibly vinyl (but who can really tell these days?), and looked to be very comfortable to sit in. I was definitely not disappointed.

Timmy, Mark and I sat on one of the couches, while Kristen sat in the love seat next to us. Doctor Phillips sat on the opposite couch, opening up the folder that she had taken with her from Doctor Miller's office.

"I guess, to begin with, I'd just like to tell you all that what we're going to talk about isn't meant to just help Timmy, it's also meant to help the three of you who will be working with me to do all we can to see that Timmy gets the chance to grow up happy."

"No that does not mean we get to go to Tim Horton's every day," I cautioned looking over at Timmy. I said that with a smile on my face and poked him in the ribs which elicited a giggle from him.

"Darn," Timmy complained, still giggling.

"Seeing how the two of you are interacting with Timmy, I can definitely see that he's not going to go without love," Doctor Phillips said.

"Doctor, if anything, Timmy's going to know nothing but love at our house. He'll have the chance to grow up like he should have had when he was with his mother," I told her.

"I'm glad to hear that." She then looked at Timmy. "How do you like Dale and Mark, Timmy?"

"You mean Daddy, and Poppa?" Timmy asked.

"Yes," Doctor Phillips said, smiling at him.

"They're really cool. I got to sleep in my own bed, and they didn't try to get into bed with me."

"Was that what happened at your mother's home?" she asked.

"Yeah," Timmy said, his smile quickly turning into a frown. "Every night when I went to bed she always came in and made sure I wasn't wearing anything to bed."

"It's okay, Timmy, no one's going to do that any more," Mark said soothingly.

"Well, sometimes one of the men she had brought home with her came in as well."

"Did your mother ever make you do things?" Doctor Phillips asks.

"Like what?"

"Did she ever touch your private parts?"

"Uh huh," Timmy said timidly.

Doctor Phillips then reached into a basket that was under the coffee table. From it she took out a couple of dolls. One which was obviously of a grown man, and the other was a small child. "Can you show me where she touched you on the little doll?"

"Here, and sometimes here," Timmy said, pointing to the doll's groin region and the buttocks.

"Was she the only one to touch you there?" she asked him gently.

Timmy didn't say anything, but lowered his head, and then slowly shook his head. I could tell from the way he was shaking that he'd begun to cry. I put my arm around him, and let him press up against me, holding onto me while he cried.

"It's okay, little buddy. You're alright now. No one's going to do that ever again," I whispered softly into his ear. It took several minutes, but eventually he started to calm down. Mark reached over and grabbed a couple of tissues from the Kleenex box on the coffee table.

When Timmy had calmed down, he sat up a bit, but I still kept an arm around him for support. "I'm sorry, Timmy. I know it's not easy. We're just trying to help you, okay?" Doctor Phillips asked gently.

"Okay," Timmy said softly.

"Did the men touch you as well, Timmy?" she tried again.

"Yeah. But mostly here," Timmy said, pointing to the doll's buttocks.

"Were they dressed or did they take their clothes off?"

"The took their clothes off," Timmy answered.

"You're doing real good there, Timmy. We only have a few more questions and then you and your dads can go home.

"With the dolls, can you show us what the man did when he was in the room with you?"

"Uh huh," Timmy said, picking up the two dolls. He laid the child doll on the coffee table face down, and put the man doll over top of the child doll, facing the coffee table. Both dolls' pelvic regions lined up which confirmed for us that the men that his mother had brought home with her had in fact raped my new son. A deep seething anger soon began to fill my being, and it was only the presence of Mark and Timmy with me that kept it in check. I wanted to hurt the men responsible, I wanted to make them pay for what they did to my little Timmy. I wanted to make sure that they never got a chance to do this to another child ever again.

"Timmy, When the man was on top of you, did he put something in your bum?" Doctor Phillips asked.

"Uh huh," Timmy answered, tears running once more down his face. "He put his pee pee in my bum and it hurt real bad." Once more I had a crying little child in my arms. My heart went out to this little boy and it was all I could do to comfort him despite the pain I knew he must be feeling inside. The physical injuries might have healed up, but my little Timmy was going to need a lot of help to get over this. Right then and there I knew that no matter what it would take, I would make sure that he was able to get past this. Somehow.

"I think that's enough for today," Kristen said, standing up.

"I agree," Doctor Phillips said. "Ms. Jacobs, can I see you outside for a minute while we let Timmy calm down a bit?"

"Sure," Kristen said before following Doctor Phillips out of the room.

"How could anyone do this to a child?" Mark asked me quietly.

"I don't know, Babe. I really don't understand people any more."

"What are we going to do?"

"I tell you what we're not going to do. We're not going to let this little guy hurt ever again," I told him resolutely.

"You're damn right we're not," Mark agreed.

"What do you think of getting a private investigator involved in this?" I asked Mark seriously.

"I don't think we'd find one who'd go for it. These types of cases they generally don't touch, preferring instead to leave it up to the local authorities to investigate."

"And if the police can't? If they find the ones responsible and the courts let them get away with what they did?"

"I don't think they will. You know as well as I do that the police are VERY much inclined to catch someone who hurts children, and the courts are VERY strict when it comes to any adult abusing a child, not to mention both the police and the courts being very meticulous in following proper proceedures in these cases."

"I know," I said, sighing. "I just feel that there has to be something more that can be done. I mean, legally. If it was up to me, I'd castrate any one who had hurt our son," I told Mark honestly.

"You and me both, Babe. You and me both," Mark said, reaching over to brush aside some of Timmy's hair that had fallen onto his face.

* * *

Mapleview Center (Food Court)
Saturday, November 20th , 2004, 12:16pm.

"Nuggets or cheeseburger, Timmy?" I asked.

We had just left the hospital and decided that the best way to help Timmy get over his ordeal at the hospital was to go to McDonald's. Don't ask me why it works, but whenever a child is down, for some reason a trip to McDonald's always seems to perk them right up. Timmy was definitely no different.

"Nuggets please!" Timmy said excitedly. I couldn't help but laugh. Mark was over by New York Fries, his favorite fast food place. Kristen was actually getting herself some coffee at Tim Horton's. Yes, I know. Tim Horton's is everywhere. I doubt anyone really knows just how many Tim Horton's restaurants there are in Burlington. The onwers themselves probably don't even know.

"What would you like to drink?" I asked him.

"Can I have some Coke please?" he asked me, his eyes wide with anticipation.

"You can have anything you want. But if you keep on ordering much more than this I'll have to run to the bank machine to get more money," I teased him.

"Daddy!" he giggled. "You're silly."

"Guilty as charged," I told him.

"Hi, Dale," the person behind the counter said upon seeing us. "How are you this afternoon?"

"Hey, Tina," I said, returning her greeting. "We're doing pretty good actually."

"And who's that you have there with you?" she asked, noticing Timmy standing beside me.

"That's my new son, Timmy," I told her proudly.

"Oh wow, really? So you and Mark were able to foster a child?"

"Yes. Actually, Timmy was abandoned here and I found him last night. My aunt was able to name Mark and me as his emergency foster parents."

"How lucky!" she said. "And how about you, Timmy. Do you like your new daddies?"

"Uh huh. But Daddy's pretty silly," Timmy said shyly, nodding his head.

"I agree. Come around here enough and I'll tell you some stories about your dad," she whispered into his ear, just loud enough for me to hear as well.

"Oh, God! Please don't," I said with mock fear in my voice.

"Definitely going to have to tell you some stories," Tina said, looking up at me mischeviously.

"Okay," Timmy giggled conspiratorially.

"Geez, not even a full day with my new son and you're already going to turn him against me."

"Yep!" Tiny agreed, laughing still. "What are friends for?"

"With friends like you..." I started, but stopped when I saw Mark walking towards us. "Okay, well in the mean time how about we get something to eat."

"Sure what would you like?"

* * *

Fifteen minutes later we were sitting down enjoying our meals. I had ordered Timmy his happy meal which consisted of a six pack of nuggets, fries, and a drink. He also had me buy him some hockey cards which McDonald's had just started selling. I just had a feeling he wasn't going to let me come home from work until I brought home more cards. But that's okay. Anything for my little buddy.

Myself, I chose a nice Caesar salad with grilled chicken strips. I also had some fries, and a large ginger ale... no ice. Mark, as I had mentioned had a large bucket of Poutine, and as always ordered an extra amount of gravy. There are days when he orders from there and starts pouring on the gravy that I jokingly ask if he'd like some fries with that gravy. Of course, when I did, I more times than not received the look from him. You know the kind of look I'm talking about. It was the same look your mother, or aunt, or sister, or best girl friend at school gave you whenever you did or said something stupid. Well, some how Mark mastered the technique. And I mean he mastered it. Whenever he gave me one of those looks I felt like I was shrinking in my seat. Kristen had ordered a coffee and a bowl of chili from Tim Horton's. Now normally I don't eat a lot of chili. My system just doesn't agree with it at all, but I have to admit, Tim Horton's really did make good chili. I just never ate it too much as it eventually resulted in me clearing the entire house... right after Mark had gone around to open all the windows.

After lunch, I decided it was time to treat Timmy to something we had promised during breakfast. And by that I mean those CDs he likes so much. I never was much of an Aaron Carter fan myself. The only group that I've really like was an Irish boy band called Westlife. I'm sure, though, after buying these CDs I'm going to be listening to a lot of Aaron Carter from now on.

"What are we doing here, Daddy?" Timmy asked as we walked into the HMV store.

"I think a special boy said he liked Aaron Carter," I said.

"Oh yeah! You're getting the CDs for me now?" Timmy asked excitedly.

"Yep. Might as well when we're here," I told him.

"Now, Dale. What did we agree on back at the house?" Kristen asked me seriously. As serious as she sounded, I could also tell she was inwardly smiling from ear to ear. It's not every day an aunt gets to spoil her nephew I guess.

"Okay, okay," I relented. "You can buy the CDs for him."

"Wise man," Kristen said, echoing the same thing she had said back at the house.

As it happened, HMV actually had several of the CDs that Aaron Carter had released to date. There was the self-titled album, Aaron's Party, and the Most Requested Hits CD. Timmy was practically jumping up and down with joy when he saw the CDs. He was holding onto all three of them close to his chest and looking up at the three of us with pleading eyes. With everything this little guy has had to go through, he deserved them. Looking over at Kristen and Mark, I could see they felt the same way. Finally Mark nodded his head to Timmy who I thought was going to jump out of his pants. Everyone in the store heard how happy Timmy was, and though he was loud, not a single person on the store said anything about it; more than a few of them were smiling at Timmy as if they knew what those CDs meant to him.

After that excitement, it was time for us to head back to the house. Kristen told us she had some paperwork that she needed to fill out at the office and would see us later on for dinner. The way she said it told me that telling her no was definitely out of the question. Looks like we'll have to make up that other bed after all.

* * *

Mark and Dale's Residence
Saturday, December 6th, 2008, 5:08pm.

What can I tell you? The last two weeks have been the best I've ever had. A close second would be Mark and I getting married, but I'm telling you right now, nothing compares to the joy and elation of being able to spend time with your son, to see him run around happily as any kid should be able to. Most of the tests from the hospital had come back, all of them negative. The infection that Timmy had cleared up pretty fast after Mark and I had picked up the prescription of antibiotics for him.

The only test that we were still waiting on was the HIV test. And that one was the most scary one of all. If it turned out positive, I knew it was going to change Timmy's life forever. In a way, I was going out of my mind with anticipation for the phone call, but at the same time I also felt a sense of dread. What would happen if the test came back positive? How would Mark and I handle that? What would it do to Timmy to learn that he had this terrible disease? So many questions and so many worries running through my head; and yet, it was Mark who kept me from going nuts. Even those nights were I laid up all night with worry, he'd stay up with me, helping me cope with the feelings I was having.

So on the one hand, I was loving being a father, and on the other, I was constantly worried for him. Still, any time I needed to sit down and relax and get away from the stress, all I needed to do was cuddle with my little Timmy. Sometimes he'd come watch TV with me, and other times he'd read a book from school. Oh yeah, that was another thing we had to do, enroll him in school again.

Right now I have Timmy sitting on my lap with his book. It was a Disney book that he had borrowed from the library. I loved it that the schools had books like this in their library. Timmy was a very competent reader, and I think that was mostly because he really enjoyed reading. I won't tell you how many times my father used to have to threaten to not let me use the TV or computer until I did my homework. None of that I needed to do with Timmy. Thanks to my new work schedule, I was always home before Timmy finished school, which allowed the two of us to sit down in the living room with while he read some book. Even when he didn't have to read, he just seemed to enjoy the times we spent together immersed in some book. I think I ended up spending more time listening to him read than watching TV.

"Dale!" Mark called out from the kitchen.

"Yeah, Mark?" I called back.

"Doctor Miller is on the phone and he wants to speak to the both of us."

"Okay, I'll be right there," I called back. "Well, Timmy, why don't you put your book away, it's almost time for dinner. We can read later if you want."

"Can I listen to some of my CDs before dinner?" Timmy asked me hopefully.

"Yes you can, but don't play them too loud as your Pop and I will be on the phone."

"Okay, Daddy," Timmy said, giving me a quick hug before hopping off the couch, book in hand, and hurrying to his room to get his CD. Getting up from the couch, I walk to the kitchen. This is the call that I had been dreading. Nothing to do now but get it over with.

Mark had put the phone on speaker so we could both listen to what the doctor had to tell us, then reached over and pulled me into a supportive hug.

"Okay, Doctor Miller. We're both here," Mark said.

"The lab returned the HIV tests we took when Timmy was here a couple weeks ago."

"What are the results?" Mark asked.

"I'm afraid there really is no easy way to say this, but Timmy's tests came back positive for HIV."

Editor's Notes:

I have a pile of damp tissues here. I was afraid of that. Having said that, let me just point something out; being HIV positive is a serious situation. However, I must also point out that with the current state of medicine, having the virus doesn't have the same terrible impact that it had in the early eighties. Yes, it is still a very bad thing, and eventually, any person who contracts the virus will die. Having said that, it should be pointed out that ANY person that doesn't contract the virus will eventually die. The drugs and treatments that are available today can prolong the lives of people who are infected for many years. I personally know of several people who are HIV positive and have been so, for more than twenty years, and they are nominally healthy, so far. I am probably preaching to the choir here, but you don't have to worry about being near someone who is HIV positive. You can't get AIDS from casual contact. That means that if you were to pick up a glass that they drank from, and used it, there is no way you would get infected. You could kiss them and be completely safe; nobody is going to get AIDS from holding or hugging someone that is HIV positive. The virus is not able to live outside of the body for any significant length of time. You can't get it from a toilet seat, or a doorknob. For all practical purposes, the only way that the virus can be spread is through intimate sexual contact; and by that, I mean unprotected sex. It is mostly transmitted by Anal sex or Vaginal sex. It can be transmitted orally, but that is much less likely. By orally, I don't mean by kissing. I mean Oral Sex. Did I get carried away there? Sorry about that, but I get so tired of hearing how dangerous it is to be around someone who is HIV positive. You are much more likely to pick up Hepatitis than you are AIDS. That thing is very robust and can remain alive on surfaces. A sad situation in that many people get Hepatitis in hospitals. I wish that the people working in hospitals would be more aggressive in keeping themselves and their surroundings clean and disinfected. I think I am going to stop here, before i start ranting... Oh wait I already started ranting, didn't I?

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher