Disclaimer: This is a work of complete fiction.  It does not and will not exist outside the fantasy world.

Matt Caper

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Chapter 14

I didn't realize what I was really offering Jake on the day I met him, when I said he could crash at my place whenever he wanted.  A couple of weekends later, after we'd hung out with each other a few times, he called and asked if my invitation to crash was still open.  And of course it was.  I was enjoying our time together.  It had been a long time since I'd had any straight friends, and I was enjoying the lack of pressure of a romantic relationship.  I didn't have to impress him, look good for him, or worry about how to react to him.  It was a very welcome relief for the time being.

When he showed up at my door, however, he wasn't alone.  "This is Katrina.  Katrina, this is Grey."  He introduced me to a girl wearing what was very much akin to a school girl's uniform, like you might see in a private school.

"Pleasure," she greeted flirtatiously.

"Don't waste your time," Jake chuckled.  "Grey likes the boys."

"That don't matter," she giggled.

"Can we hang out here for a while?  Do you mind?" asked Jake.

"Not at all," I said, inviting them in.  I grinned, gazing at Katrina's attire.  "Nice outfit."

Katrina giggled like a little girl, and Jake emitted a low, sexy laugh.  "Okay, full disclosure."  He leaned into me and whispered.  "School girls in uniform really turn me on."  He leaned back with a wide, bright grin.  "We were on video chat, and I asked her if she had an outfit like this.  Turns out she does."

She clung to him and rubbed her body against his, openly fondling his crotch over his khaki pants.  I was basically rendered speechless.

"Wow," I said finally, not knowing what else to say.  "Um.  The boys aren't here, so feel free to take the guest bedroom."

"Thanks a million, Grey."  The couple disappeared, and I decided I needed some stimulation of my own.  In my bedroom, I tore off all my clothes and spread out on my bed with my laptop.

I was really getting into a particular video of two guys getting it on in a locker room.  I could picture that same scene, only with me and some guy, in the YCC's locker room.  As if that would ever happen.  But it was fun to fantasize about.  Right in the middle of the video, however, Jake walked into my room.  He was naked and hard and standing right before my eyes.  I didn't feel the need to cover up, either.

"Damn, you're big," I complimented.  "Nice body."

"You too, bro.  Bet you're proud in the locker room."  I smiled, knowing he couldn't see what I was watching.  "Do you happen to have some lube and a rubber I could use?  I'm a moron and forgot mine."

I have to confess, it was really exciting to show off my body to him when I rose from the bed.  I'm kind of ashamed to say it, but I turned my ass toward him and bent over a little as I rummaged through my nightstand to retrieve what he needed.  I felt really dumb about it later, but at that moment, I was hoping he was watching and appreciating the view.  As if.

"Here you go," I handed it to him.  "Have fun."

"Thanks, I really appreciate it."  He walked away, and, yes, I watched his ass until he disappeared.  Then I jerked off like nobody's business.

After that day, every time I felt a tinge of excitement when I thought of Jake's body, I also felt a pang of guilt for it.  He was straight and needed to trust me to be a true friend, not someone who lusted after him.  And realistically, it wasn't him I wanted anyway.  I merely needed companionship and love from someone special, and he just happened to be the closest person to me in my life, at that point.

As I spent more time with him and got to know him, it became easier to see him as a real person and not a mere sex object.  That was the good part.  The not-so-good part was having to host him and his hook-ups almost constantly.  They were rarely close to his age, but I had no intention of judging him.  Finally, to make things easier on me, I had an extra key made and gave it to him.  But that basically opened Pandora's box.  Suddenly it wasn't uncommon for him to pop by in the middle of the day for a quickie, and occasionally even in the middle of the night, during which times he simply used the livingroom.  Or the kitchen.  Or the laundry room.

None of that, in and of themselves, was a particular bother, but the by-products were a bit bothersome.  In the middle of the day during the week, I wouldn't be home.  The boys, however, usually were.  Which meant they were subjected to his random escapades.  Also, all the boys at one time or another had actually seen Jake in a coitus act, on account of him popping in at night and getting it on in the livingroom and/or kitchen and/or laundry room.  David was even one of those, once.  Jake always made them promise to keep his secret, but never seemed bothered if he was being watched or not.

Sometime after school started, I was at home studying while the boys were staying over somewhere else.  I wasn't sure where and didn't care at the time.  I badly needed study time to myself and was simply glad they were gone.  I plunged into reading and assignments and didn't come up for air for several hours.

I was just getting up for food, which I hadn't had since morning, when Jake suddenly entered the front door.  With another girl, of course.  They greeted me, but quickly disappeared.  Outside, colors of orange and red began to splay across the sky and mute the stark shades of dark gray in every shadow.  The September air was warm, the wind was calm, and I enjoyed a sandwich on the tiny yard between my house and my parents'.

In probably less than an hour, Jake's girl exited the house and left in her own car.  I went inside and found Jake in the guest bedroom, lounging in his boxers.  He smiled lazily.

"That was a quick one," I noted.

"But a good one," he murmured.

"You don't have many repeat performances, do you?"

"Nah.  I'm all about the NSA."

"What's that?" I asked with a bit of trepidation.  For all I knew, it was a freaky sex act.

"No Strings Attached.  Girls wanna get married and have babies if you hang around them long enough."

"And you don't?"

"Yeah, someday," he said.  "But when I'm older.  I just wanna have fun right now."

"True enough," I said, lounging on the other bed in the room.  "Just be careful, all right?  Don't get anyone pregnant."

"Look at you, all worried about me," he grinned, throwing a pillow at me.

I laughed and threw it back.  "I'm serious!  You've got a good career going, and the last thing you need is a baby when you don't want one."

"Relax.  I'm careful."

"I can't believe you get laid as much as you do.  Aren't there any of those girls who would want a strictly sexual relationship, without all the commitment stuff?"

"Believe me," he said, sitting up.  "Even if they say they don't care about commitment, they do.  They always get attached."

"That wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.  Just sayin'."

He swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood, scratching his crotch.  "You sound like my dad."

"Sorry, I don't mean to."

"Can I hang out here for a while?  I don't feel like going home."

I heaved myself up and stood next to him.  "Of course you can.  You know, you should just move in here and make it easier on yourself."  I hadn't entertained that idea until the very second I suggested it.  It had never even crossed my mind.

"Are you being serious?"

I shrugged.  "Yes.  I mean, why not?  There's no rent to pay.  I don't even care if you don't pay any utilities.  It's not like you being here would raise the cost any.  If you can contribute to the cost of groceries, I'll even do the shopping for you.  Nicky and I like to do that together, since we're the ones who usually cook."

A slow smile spread across his face.  "That sounds really ideal.  Where would I sleep?"

"Well, we'll run the idea by the boys.  But I'd say you can have the guest room.  I'll move the second bed into Noah and Landon's room, since it's their friends who use it anyway.  They oughta be able to share a room when they stay over.  We can manage it.  David might have to sleep with you when he stays over, unless he crowds in with one of us."

"That's totally rad, man.  I'll share a bed if I have to occasionally, since you're kind enough to offer me my own bedroom.  You sure the kids won't mind?"

"I'll ask them tomorrow.  I'm thinking they'll be for the idea."

I was right, too.  They were in love with the idea and didn't even care about putting two beds in Landon and Noah's room.  We put the beds side by side at the opposite end of the room from the door, and I told them we'd just have to share beds when TJ and/or Sam slept over.

The only person who wasn't completely crazy about Jake's move was David.  But I assured him he was welcome over any time to see his brother, and that seemed to put him more at ease.  There were occasional times when I wished to myself for a bigger house, with the way we tended to fill it up.  But I was truly grateful to be without a house payment and rent payment, so I was more than happy to make do with what we had.  Until, however, I got a call from Shelia Henderson.

"How is Landon?" she asked.  "I must admit, I do miss seeing him from time to time."

"Landon is really good.  You'd be so proud.  He watches over all the younger kids, ours and their friends that stay over as well.  He helps me out by driving them places and never complains.  And even though he's homeschooled now, he still works hard at studying and works part time delivering pizza."

"You're really lucky.  A lot of foster parents don't get kids that good."

"I know it.  I feel pretty lucky.  Did you call just to check on him?"

"Ah, no.  As a matter of fact, I have a secret motive."

"Uh-oh."

"I am really hoping you will consider taking another foster child.  Another boy, of course.  I know you prefer that."

"Oh gosh, you're kidding!"

"Grey, I know you have your hands full right now, but you're such a good foster parent, and I'll be honest with you.  I am very desperate."

With my eyes closed, I rubbed my forehead and tried not to feel too overwhelmed.  Nicholas noticed my demeanor, as he's prone to do, and immediately began caressing my arm, even though he didn't know what was wrong.  "Is this a problem child?"

"Well, I wish I could lie and say he's as perfect as Landon.  But...  You have a way with boys, and I know if anyone can handle him, you can."

Taking a deep breath, I whispered to Nicholas to bring me my keys and billfold.  "Tell me about him," I finally said to her.

"His name is Eli.  He's ten years old and comes from an abusive home.  He's already been in several foster homes, and they've all kicked him out.  He has a bad temper and a penchant for starting fights.  He also has a very foul mouth and no respect for authority.  That's the bad stuff.  I'm told he can be very sweet when he wants to be, but I've yet to see it.  I know you can make a difference to him, Grey," she said hopefully.

Nicholas stood next to me with my things, and I told Landon I'd be back soon.  I left with Nicholas in tow and headed to the same furniture store where I'd bought quite a few things by now.  I was surely their favorite customer.  And now I'd have them deliver yet another bed, and maybe a small chest of drawers, too.  "When do you want to bring him over?" I asked.

"Does that mean you'll take him?" she gasped, holding her breath as she waited for confirmation.

"Yes," I sighed.  "I'll take him."

"Oh bless you, bless you, bless you!" Sheila cried.  "Is now too soon?"

I laughed in spite of my worry about the situation.  "I'm going right now to buy a bed for him.  Can you bring him in about half an hour?"

"Yes!  Absolutely!  Oh, thank you, Grey!  You're a lifesaver."

"I'm going to have to get a bigger house if you keep this up."

"I wouldn't complain.  You're one of the few I trust."

"I hope I don't let you down with this one."

"I know you won't.  I'll see you in thirty."

After I hung up, Nicholas was all eyes.  "Are we getting another kid?"

"It appears so."

"Where will this bed go?"  Nicholas was often as practical as I.

"I think it'll go in our room.  Is that okay?  I think I'm going to need you more than ever, Nicholas."

"Why?"

"Sheila says Eli is a problem child.  He's ten and doesn't behave well.  If you can be a friend to him, that might help him a lot."

"Okay!" he agreed easily.  "It'll be nice not to be the youngest anymore."

"I hope this turns out okay.  We might have to work hard to make him feel safe.  He's in foster care because he was abused at home.  I don't know how or to what extent, but it had to be bad for him to be in the State's care now."

"Poor Eli," Nicholas murmured sadly.  "We'll give him a good home."

I smiled.  "And this is why I love you."

We found a bed, sheets and bedspread, and a chest of drawers, paid for them and their delivery, and booked it back home.  My stomach was in knots, apprehensive as I was about Eli's arrival.  I hoped I had learned enough about parenting to handle him without losing my mind.

All the usual boys, including Jake and David, were at my house that night.  I hoped they didn't overwhelm Eli.  As soon as Nicholas and I hit the door, I started yelling for all of them.

"Everyone in the livingroom!" I yelled.  "Family meeting!  Move it, move it!  We don't have much time!"  Some of them were already in the livingroom, playing David's X-box he'd brought over.  I made them turn it off and focus all their attention on me.  I told them everything about Eli that I knew.

"A bed's being delivered for him.  He'll sleep in mine and Nicky's room.  I want everyone to make him feel welcome.  If he tries to start a fight, don't let him bait you.  Just ignore him if you have to.  Or tell me, and I'll deal with him.  Otherwise, keep being a friend to him, no matter what.  Noah, remember how angry you felt and wanted the world to know it?  Eli might be even worse.  Just remember how you felt and give him room to express himself.

"Landon, he'll be told in the beginning that your word is as good as mine.  I learned in my foster parent training that you should never respond to a kid's anger with your own anger.  So keep your actions in check.  But if he gets out of hand, punish him if you have to.  Make him stand in the corner, go to bed, whatever.  I don't know how bad he's gonna get, but I want you prepared for anything.  Can you handle this?  Are you okay with it?"

"Yeah, Grey!  I can handle it.  Remember, I was a foster child, too.  I'll be able to relate to him better than anyone."

"That's right," I smiled.  "I forget that sometimes.  I feel like you were always mine.  Okay, so you've got this.  And Jake, you have the same authority as Landon.  I think that goes without saying.  The rest of you, though, I want you to focus on being Eli's friend.  Help him out, encourage him, and don't boss him around.  If you get him to trust you, he might just follow your example and follow the rules, be respectful, and all of that.  Are you guys ready for this?  Because I'm pretty nervous."

They all assured me everything was going to be just fine.  I was glad they had more confidence than I did.  Strangely enough, knowing that actually built up my confidence.  The bed and chest arrived before Eli did, which was a bit disconcerting because Sheila was late.  I was already imagining all sorts of trouble, as I was prone to do.

It was an hour after our phone call that Sheila arrived with Eli.  All ten of us went outside to meet them.  At first glance, Eli seemed innocent enough.  His brown hair was ordinary - no Mohawk or anything.  He wasn't much smaller than Nicholas, and he actually looked a little daunted by the presence of ten older boys.  I stepped forward and offered him my hand.  "Hi, I'm Grey.  I'm your new foster dad."

"Fuck me!" he said with surprise, shaking my hand.  "Finally somebody who's not old and crusty.  Wait, you ain't got no bitch?"

"Excuse me?" I lifted a brow.

"Ain't you married?"

"No, I'm not married."

"Fuckin' A, you're a fag?  Fuck this, I don't wanna be raped in my sleep.  Get me the fuck out of here," he demanded of Sheila.

I cleared my throat, counting in my head to stay calm.  "Nobody's getting raped.  Also, nobody who lives or stays here is allowed to use the word 'fag' or any form of it.  Yes, I'm gay.  But you're much too young for me.  You're not even my type.  But give me a call in ten years if you're still interested."

Some of my boys broke into fits of giggles.  Eli looked shocked and was speechless just for a moment.  Long enough for Nicholas to step forward.  "I'm Nicholas.  I live here, too, so I'm your new brother.  We just bought a bed and dresser for you.  Wanna come see?"

Eli shrugged and followed Nicholas inside.  I turned to Sheila.  "Go.  While you have the chance."

"Thank you," she whispered.  "I owe you big time."

"I'll remember that," I chuckled.

I brought Eli's stuff inside, where Nicholas was giving him a full tour.  He then introduced everyone else to him and began giving him all the information he needed, basically taking over for me.  I loved that kid.  Everything I had said in the family meeting, Nicholas told Eli, plus much more.

"You can get anything to eat any time you want," said Nicholas, showing him where everything was in the kitchen.  "Actually, there's not that many rules here.  Just basic ones.  Be kind to each other, and do what the ones in charge say.  Grey is really nice, though.  He talks to us like we're actual people instead of just stupid kids, and he tries to keep us safe.  And he does what he can to make us happy.  I think you're really gonna like it here."

Eli looked around at everyone, his brow furrowed.  "This ain't like any foster home I ever been in.  I don't know if I like it yet.  But I'll give it a shot."

Landon smiled.  "We're really glad you're here.  We're all a real family here, even those who don't live here.  I used to be a foster kid, until Grey adopted me.  You're real lucky to have him as a dad."

Eli scanned me skeptically while responding to Landon.  "Older boys usually don't get adopted.  Did you have to suck his dick to get adopted?"

Landon was shocked at the question.  "No way!  He's not like that."

"Besides," said Noah.  "I got dibs on Landon's mouth," he giggled.

Eli gasped.  "You're fags, too?  Goddamn, am I the only man around here?"

"Whoa!" I interrupted.  "Find another word, dude.  Like, gay.  Not fag.  Do not use that word.  And for your information, gay men are men.  Just like straight men.  And no, not everyone here is gay."

"Fine!  Don't have a cow," shrugged Eli.  "I ain't never known any good fa-, I mean, gays before."

Well," TJ spoke up.  "Us gay boys can have just as much fun as straight boys.  Wanna play X-box with us?  We don't usually have one, but David brought his over."

"You mean with all these kids, Grey won't even buy an X-box or PlayStation or nothin'?" balked Eli.

"That's what your allowance is for," I said.  "So far, no one has seen fit to purchase one themselves."

Now I really had Eli's attention.  He gaped at me.  "I get an allowance?  Are you fuckin' with me?"

"Nope.  I mean it.  Twenty bucks a week."

"Holy Mary mother of God!" he cried in his prepubescent, really high-pitched voice.  "Can I spend it on whatever I want?"

"Yes, it's your money.  I'll help you manage it, but only if you want me to.  The State gives me money to take care of you, and I think it should be used for you.  I won't dictate how you spend it, but I won't give you extra if you spend it all, either.  I usually distribute money on the weekends, either via cash or bank transfer, whatever you prefer.  I'll set you up a bank account, if you want, and show you how to keep up with the balance online."

"Is this place for real?" he asked.  "You're giving me money, telling me I can eat what I want, when I want, and I even get my own bed.  What's the catch?  I'm serious, if you try to rape me in my sleep, I'll fucking knife you all."

"Hey now, calm down," I tried to soothe.  "Get the rape idea out of your head.  You're safe here.  Nobody's gonna knife anybody.  No catch, man.  We like you because you're a part of our family now."

"You can be a Taylor, like me," Landon said, and reached out and mussed Eli's hair.

Even before Landon touched Eli's head, Eli was reacting.  His body jerked, and he screamed.  And while he screamed, he used his fists to whack Landon in the groin.  Landon immediately went down in agony.

"Don't touch me, motherfucker!" Eli squeaked.  "I'll rip your goddamn arm off!"

Noah gasped and attended to Landon.  Will, seeing his friend in pain, was filled with anger.  He advanced on Eli, pushing him.  "You asshole!  That was uncalled for!"

Before I could intervene, Nicholas was ahead of me.  He stepped between Will and Eli.  "He didn't mean it, Will!  He was just protecting himself!"  Will stopped on account of Nicholas, but was still practically growling with each breath.

"Nicholas is right," I said calmly.  "Calm down, Will.  Landon, are you all right?"

Landon nodded, though he had tears in his eyes.  "I'm sorry, Eli.  I didn't mean to scare you."

Nicholas took Eli by the hand, which Eli allowed him to do.  "We're gonna go put his clothes in his new dresser.  Come on, Eli."

As Nicholas led him down the hall, a still fuming Eli turned to the rest of us before disappearing in our room.  "You can all go to hell!" he screamed and slammed the door behind him.

This was going to be a lot harder than I thought.