The next week went by amazingly fast for all of them. They sat back and relaxed most of Sunday, but Monday morning, bright and early, right after they finished their morning workout, the boys started on their school work. It was agreed upon by all of them that they would commit six hours a day to their school work, so that was what they did. Every day they would do that and break only for a short lunch, so that they would get as much done as possible. Other than that though, they actually did almost nothing else. While the boys were doing their school work, James took care of the household needs and wrote. The house was pretty quiet actually.
Benji had not come to visit at all the first week, he too was getting into the swing of things and spending what little time he had with his dad. He did come over on Saturday though, and all of them headed to the soup kitchen once again, this time with no extra goodies, they did bring lots of food though, but they all helped out and fed as many as they could. If anyone was disappointed that there was nothing extra for the kids, they were polite enough to not say anything. They all knew that sort of thing was rare anyway, and that they would be lucky to ever get anything again, if only they knew.
Sunday was spent relaxing once again, other than going out and getting some grocery shopping done, which included going and getting a new load of diapers for all of them, because they were getting low on them too.
Throughout the week, they all got their two routine exercise sessions, although their nightly exercises were all but routine, in fact there were so few people who would see it as such, even though it sure worked. Once again it was starting to show more on James that all the exercise was helping, and when they bought diapers, he had to go one size smaller again. His pants were starting to get too small again, but they did not bother to replace them yet, because with a belt, they were still fine, and he had a little ways to go yet before he was where he would likely stabilize.
Monday morning, while the boys were doing their school work, James received once again more than one call, seemingly all at the same time.
“Oh, hi Jim, how's it goin'?” James asked once he knew who was calling.
“Excellent, how about you guys?”
“All's great, thanks. So, what's up?”
“Just calling to say that your photos are ready to pick up whenever you have a chance. If you can make it for just a few minutes after five today, we're free to go over everything with you.”
“Okay, we'll be there at a few minutes after five then. I don't suppose you happen to have nice picture frames there?”
“Of course, only the nicest.” Jim laughed.
“Of course. I assume we can choose the frames and have you mount them for us?”
“Definitely. It'll only take a few minutes to mount them, so we can do that this evening.”
“Great, see you then.”
“Okay, have a good day James.”
“And you too.” James smiled and hung up.
Not even two minutes later James' phone rang again and he picked it up to find John there.
“Hey John, how's it goin'?”
“Good and you guys?”
“Good. How's my money maker doing?”
“I'm doing fine.” James said cautiously.
“For once, I wasn't talking about you, I was referring to Nathan, has he got any writing done lately.”
“Oh, he's doing great, and he's still getting some done almost every day, same as me, although I have a lot more time to do so than he has.” James laughed, he had no problem with it, he knew Nathan was far better than he was, and that was not because he loved him.
“Good.” John laughed.
“So, are you calling to give us a date or something?”
“As a matter of fact, yes I am. I also happened to leak a few copies out to a few critics who can really play it, and they loved his first book. It's set for release a week from today, and I'm sending Nathan's first check out today. From the feedback that the critics gave to me, I bumped up printing five times more than I'd originally planned for, and his first check also mirrors that move. I was just gonna give him a two hundred and fifty thousand dollar signing bonus, and then royalty, but I decided to give him a full million and then work from there. He'll earn it all anyway, probably inside the first week, so no point in sending ten checks. I'll work it the same way I do for you though, once I have the information, I'll just do a monthly deposit into his bank account.”
“Wow, must have been some feedback. How many critics did you give it to, and what was the feedback?”
“You have no idea. I gave it to fifteen different literary critics throughout the world, every one of them came back with glowing remarks, saying it was the finest work they had ever read and kept them guessing and on the edge of their seats the entire time. Three of them even said that they ended up reading straight through the night and not sleeping at all. I of course told them that I did the same thing. They were all also very amazed at the age of Nathan, and more so at the age that he was when he wrote that one. Of course they wanted to know who he was, but I told them that wasn't gonna happen.”
“Thanks, he'll appreciate that, but I think I'll keep the rest somewhat quiet for now, he's too much like me and wouldn't want to know that, at least not yet.”
“Yeah, I know, but he'll have to accept it sooner or later. Now, as for you, you didn't think you were getting out of it that easily did you?”
“I was hoping to yes.” James laughed.
“Wishful thinking. Now, I gave two of your books to two different producers and tasked them with making them into world class blockbuster movies. As I understand it, casting has already started, even though they haven't entirely finished with the screenwriting of it all yet, but they're getting close. It's been a nut house of activity around here though, because I have meetings every day with them to get things as close to the book as possible, and to leave as much intact as we can. Sadly, we've had to make a few cuts and minor changes, since we can't do certain things in a movie, but they'll be as good as we can possibly make them. Had I known it was gonna be so much work, I'd have only done one at a time. Oh well though. Both have said that if all goes well, they could hit the big screen in as little as six months.”
“Wow, and here I thought we were busy.” James laughed.
“Probably not nearly as busy as I've been. I've been working minimum ten hour days for the past two weeks, and one day I just didn't even leave, I ended up sleeping in my office again. Thankfully I have a comfortable couch in here.” John laughed.
“Yikes. Well don't work so hard that you give yourself a heart attack or something like that, that'd do none of us any good.” James warned.
“No, I'm actually having a great time and hardly think of it as work. It's been long and tiring sure, but that's okay. Once the main push is done though, I am taking a few days rest.”
“Good, glad to hear it. Well, I should be going, my call waiting has been beeping at me for the past several minutes here, but I've just been ignoring it.”
“Oh, okay then, that was all I had for you anyway. Have a good day and I'll call you later, oh, and I'll send over the finished copies of the book once it's finished, which should be tomorrow, they start shipping out tomorrow as well if all goes well, and should be in stores and ready for release on Monday like I said.”
“Oh okay, thanks. Talk to you later.”
“Talk to you later.” John said and they hung up.
James checked his caller ID to see who had been trying to call him and found that it was Grandpa's cell phone, so hit redial and called him back.
“Hi Nicholas, I see that you were trying to call me.”
“Yeah, hi James, how's it goin'?”
“Good, and sorry about that. Was just on the phone with mine and Nathan's publisher. We'll be sending you guys a finished copy of his first book probably next week some time, and he was telling me that he was sending Nathan a million dollar first check.”
“Wow, they must have really liked his first book. Nancy only ever got a couple hundred thousand to start.”
“You have no idea. The publisher gave it to several literary critics and they all gave it glowing comments.”
“Well, we all knew it would. So anyway, I was calling for a reason.”
“Oh yeah, what's up?”
“Nothing much, was just wondering if you guys wanted to come out here soon? We've been missing you, and I know you wanted to come out, but Nancy can't take off to do it.”
“Yeah, I think the boys were planning on doing so pretty soon. They've been missing you as well. We'll do the cross country train trip though, take our time getting there, see all the sights, and we'll probably stop at all the nice places and tour them, so it might take a week or two before we even make it there. I might even bring another boy with us if he's allowed, the boy's friend Benji.”
“Yeah, Nathan told us all about Benji, but I doubt he'd want to leave his daddy.”
“He can come with us if he wants to really, but I'll ask Benji.”
“Yeah, not like it'd matter too much. That'd be a nice trip to take, and really, it wouldn't matter how long it took to get here, and the boys could all really use a trip like that.”
“Exactly, and it's not even like they can't still do their school work during the day.”
“Very true. So, when can I tell Nancy that you'll be heading out this way?”
“Um, let's tentatively say that we'll head out your way on Monday of next week, and we'll just bring Nathan's book with us.”
“Okay, and about a week or two to get here then, that should appease Nancy, at least a little.” Nicholas laughed.
“Hopefully. I guess I should go start booking tickets and whatnot.”
“Okay, well have a good day, thanks.”
“You too.” James smiled and they hung up.
Just as James was about to put his phone down, it started ringing again. He sighed and looked at the caller ID to see who it was. He had never received this many calls in his life all at once. It was Michael.
“Hey Michael, what's up?”
“Sadly, me. I'm not usually up this early, but I had to. It just seems that nothing wants to go right for me lately. My bloody house just burned down.”
“Oh no Michael, how'd it happen and are you and Tony okay?”
“Yeah, we're okay. Tony's not even home yet, he wasn't scheduled to come home 'til tomorrow, he's flying home as early as he can tonight though. Not sure how it happened, I was still in bed when the smoke detectors all started going nuts, and they woke me up, thankfully, and I went to leave my bedroom, but the door was burning hot, so I threw on my pajamas and robe and dove out the window. It looks like the house is a total loss.”
“When did the fire happen?”
“Well, I woke up at just a little before five I guess, it's already put out, I'm standing out front wrapped up in a blanket that the fire department gave me. The ambulance had some diapers, so I was able to get changed, but I don't like them, but they work. Not sure what I'm gonna do now though.”
“Did you own or rent?”
“Just rented, and I know the owner had insurance on the place, so he's okay, but we didn't, because we didn't have much, so it wasn't really worth it. Now I'm sorta regretting that, at least we'd have gotten some money to help rebuild, but oh well, I have all that's important. I managed to grab the photo album, the digital camera, my cell phone and the notebook computer as I was leaving, because they were in the bedroom anyway, and that really has all that's important to us anyway.”
“Oh, that's good, at least you got the important things. We'll be there in a few minutes to pick you up, or can you come here?”
“I'd appreciate it if you came and got me, because my car burned up as well. At least it's insured, but I'm sure it'll be a day or two before it's replaced.”
“Okay, be right there. My clothes won't really fit you, but to start with, it'll have to do 'til later when we can go shopping.”
“Okay, thanks James, I knew I could count on you to help out.” Michael said.
“You know I'd never leave you in your time of need. See you in a few.”
“Thanks, see you.”
James went and told the boys all that he knew, and they made to get up to go with him, but he waved them back, saying they could continue working while he went to get Michael. They relented after a moment, seeing that he was fine and that there was nothing that they could do, so there was little point in going. James went and got dressed, because he was only just in his diaper still, and then headed right out. He got to Michael's place a few minutes later, and the house was but a shell, it was pretty bad.
“Hey Michael, how are you holding up?”
“As good as can be expected I guess. It was pretty horrible watching my house just get destroyed in front of my eyes like that, but at least I didn't get hurt at all.”
“Yeah, that I have little doubt about. Have the firemen said anything yet?”
“Yeah, the head told me the fire started in the garage, possibly from the car itself, since that's the worst damaged item. He asked me if there had been any recalls on it, and I told him none that I was aware of. He asked me the make, model and year, and I told him and he looked it up, saying that there was actually an electrical fire risk recall on it that just went out, so I might not have even received it yet. He told me that if that's the case, and the car would be totally tested, that the car company would have to pay for everything, but that it could take weeks. He told me not to accept anything less than a few hundred thousand dollars if that's the case.”
“Yikes. At least it didn't happen while you were in it. But then again, I suppose that might have been better as well, that way it probably wouldn't have been in your garage.”
“Whatever, it happened and there's nothing that can be done about it. I've already told him that I had a ride coming to get me, and he said I can leave any time I'm ready to, there's nothing more I can do here.”
“Yeah, that's true. Come on, let's get you home and comfortable, the boys want to see you.”
“I'm surprised that you managed to get them to stay.”
“So am I actually, but like I said, there was nothing they could do here at all, so there was no point in them coming.”
“Wouldn't have stopped me. I'd have wanted to see it. Granted, now that I've seen it, I never want to see this sort of thing ever again.”
“I don't doubt that. Come on.” James smiled sadly, and they headed out.
They were back to the house a few minutes later, and as soon as they walked in, all three boys were standing there waiting for the two of them.
“Michael, are you alright?” Mitchel asked worriedly, hugging his big brother firmly.
“I am now baby brother. My house and car are gone, almost everything that was in it with them, but I saved what was important, mostly because it was in the bedroom with me.”
“I'm glad you're not hurt, you're the only important thing in the house.”
“Thanks. I wanted my computer and photo album mostly for all the pictures, the rest is just nice to have.”
“Do you want to go lay back in the hot tub and relax for a bit, you look really tense?” Mitchel asked lovingly.
“Actually, now that you mention it, that'd be really nice right about now.” Michael sighed.
“Okay, come on then.” Mitchel said, grabbing his big brothers hand and leading him tot he pool. The others followed, except James.
“I have a couple things to do boys, you go relax, I'll be in in a bit.”
“Okay.” They all said as one.
The boys all headed to the pool, while James headed to his office. He did have a trip to plan after all. It took him half an hour to find the correct website for all that he needed, and was able to book almost everything directly there. Because of a few of the day stops that he wanted for them to make though, he had to book a few hotels along the way as well, but that was fairly easy to do. So, in a little over an hour, he had their trip all booked and pretty much planned. There were times when they were able to just do a day trip in some place and catch the next train, but in some cases that did not work for whatever reason. The only downside to that of course was always having to stay packed. Once he was done, he headed down to the pool to join the others.
“What did you have to do?” Nathan asked curiously as James slipped in next to his baby.
“Nothing much. You'll find out on Monday. Do you have Benji's number though?”
“Yeah, what do you need it for?”
“To ask his dad something.”
“Oh, what?” Nathan grinned, knowing exactly what answer he was going to get.
“From that grin, you know exactly what I'm gonna say, so don't even try.” James grinned right back.
“You know, you shouldn't keep secrets from your partner right!”
“While that may in fact be true, there are certain things you have to keep secret, and sometimes there are other reasons as well, this is one of those times, so deal with it.”
“You're one to talk. So Michael, how you feeling now?”
“Better now that I'm here, and the hot tub sure has helped to relieve my tense muscles.”
“That's good. Did the fire chief tell you when the investigation would be complete?”
“All he said was that he'd call me when he knew anything, but that he had no idea how long that'd take. I should probably call Tony though pretty soon and let him know what's happening. I haven't talked to him since about six this morning.”
“Yeah, you probably should, he's probably waiting for your call on pins and needles.” James said.
“Yeah. Well, I guess now's a good a time as any.” Michael said and hopped out of the hot tub. The others stayed put.
“If you need a diaper Michael, there's some on the shelf right there.” James said.
“Oh thanks, and they're good ones too.”
“Only the best for us babies.”
Michael went and cleaned up and then dried off and diapered up, then went in search of his things, so that he could find his cell phone. He just went and sat on the couch and called Tony and talked to him for about half an hour. Just as he was hanging up, James and the boys came in to join him.
“So, how are you after talking to Tony?” James asked.
He and the boys had stayed in the hot tub just talking lightly about what they were going to do now.
“Not too bad. Like Tony said, we didn't really lose anything worth keeping anyway, so it's not like it's a huge loss. A pain in the ass to be sure, but we'll be fine. I'd like to go shopping though pretty quick if you could take me though please James. I still need to work this afternoon, and that's in only a couple hours that I usually open.”
“You'll be fine, we'll all take you, but I do need to make a call before we go. So, let's go get dressed boys, and then I need Benji's phone number.”
“Okay.” All the boys said.
“Oh and Michael, come and get some clothes. They might not fit great, but they'll do.”
“Oh right. I'd look pretty silly going to the mall like this, that's for sure.” Michael laughed.
“Might get hit on too though.” Mitchel grinned.
“Or arrested.” Isaac giggled.
“That's more than likely.” Michael laughed.
They all went and got dressed, and Nathan grabbed his cell phone, he had Benji's number programmed in there, so James just took it.
“Okay Baby, scoot, I need to make a call.”
“Fine, kick me out and then use my own cell phone. I hope you know I turned on the voice recorder.”
“If it had one, I'd know about it, and I'd check before using your own phone to make a secret phone call that involves you. You can't forget that I'm not the normal parent, I know electronics just as well as you do.” James grinned, sticking his tongue out.
“Figures.” Nathan grinned cheekily and left the bedroom, closing the door on his way out.
“Hi, is Jeff there please?”
“Hi Jeff, I don't doubt that Benji's told you about me, but I'm James. How are you today?”
“Ah yes, James, it's good to hear from you. Benji's told me all about you guys.”
“And he's told us all about you guys as well, so I guess that means we're pretty much in the same boat. Is Benji there with you?”
“No, he's in his room doing his school work.”
“Good. I know we don't know each other at all, but the boys all know each other real good, and I was wondering if I could ask you something.”
“We may not know each other, but in a way we do, we probably know as much or more than most people know about us.”
“Too true. Anyway, the reason I called is that we're taking a cross country train tour, and I was wondering if Benji would like to join us. You'd be more than welcome to come as well if you're not comfortable letting him go by himself with almost total strangers. And before you worry about costs, I've already booked three rooms for the entire trip, because I wanted Benji along right from the start, but if for whatever reason he can't come, then I'll just cancel the third. I'll also pay for everything as well, you or he only needs to pay for anything you care to buy wherever we stop. We'll be taking about two weeks to go there, then staying back east for a week to visit the grandparents and then another two weeks back.”
“Oh, that's very generous of you. That's some trip as well, it can't be cheap!”
“Actually, it was a lot cheaper than I thought it might be. Money isn't too much of a worry though. Benji knows who I am, and I trust because you're lovers, that he'd have told you as well, I just hope he asked you to not spread that around.”
“Yeah, he told me, both things actually, and don't worry, I won't. I don't know if I can go, especially not for five weeks, and as much as I'd love to let Benji go, I just don't know how I'd handle it.”
“I know how you feel there, I doubt I could leave my boys either. You're an artist right, so it's not like you strictly have to work, and think of it this way. How else will you get some amazing scenery and incredible inspiration to work from. I'm also sure that you'd be more than welcome to bring any sort of paints or drawing utensils that you desire. Besides, can you really say no to a practically free trip, I know how you struggling artists are?” James grinned loudly enough to be heard.
“Actually, you have a good point there, it would be incredible inspiration. I don't do landscapes all that often, but have been known to do them from time to time. I'll agree to come with you all on one condition though.”
“That you allow me to paint a family portrait of you?”
“That'd take a lot of time though?”
“True, but we can just take a picture, and then I can work from that for the most part. Once I know you, I can easily work from a picture and get it looking even better than a picture ever can, even I can admit that.”
“Well, I'd never refuse such an offer. Can you be ready to leave on Monday morning?”
“Actually, I can be ready to leave at almost any time. I don't have any art shows coming up that I know of, and I'll tell my agent what's happening, so he won't set any up for me. What should we pack though?”
“You'll want to pack fairly light, just a suitcase each, and don't forget diapers, because we'll be taking side trips as well, so you don't want to have to pack too much all the time. We'll be spending enough time off the train to allow you to get your clothes cleaned and restock diapers and whatnot, so don't worry about that.”
“Oh, okay, that sounds good. Should we meet you somewhere then?”
“Just come to our place by seven on Monday morning and then we'll all go together in our van, we'll all fit.”
“Excellent, thanks a lot, this should be just the ticket to have some fun.”
“Yeah, it'll be good for all of us.” James smiled.
“Well, see you Monday morning then.”
“Yeah, and tell Benji that he's to come over Saturday morning again if he wants to join us again, but please don't tell him anything about the trip though, I'm leaving it as a surprise to the boys here.”
“Okay, will do.” Jeff smiled as well.
“Have a good day.”
“And you too.” And they hung up.
“Okay guys, I'm ready to go whenever you are.” James called out once he left the bedroom.
“We're down here waiting for you.” Nathan called up.
James went and put on his shoes and joined the others, who had by then already hopped in the van. They headed to the mall, and Michael led them to his favorite store, where he stocked up on a few sets of clothes. Several hundred dollars later, they all headed out, Michael having changed into one of his new pairs of clothes.
“Okay, if you'd take me to the store please, I'll just get a cab back to the house, but Tony will be with me I'm sure, hopefully anyway. I know you guys will be in bed by the time I get there. Are you sure though, I mean I can get a hotel, the car company will end up paying for it all in the end if it was their fault?”
“Of course we're sure. We'll talk it all over tomorrow when we have the time to do so. Oh, here's a house key by the way, you'll be needing it.” James said, handing over the key he had meant to give to Michael earlier.
“Oh, well thanks a lot for all of this, as usual.” Michael said.
“No prob. Have a good night.”
“You too guys, see you late tomorrow morning.”
“See you.” The boys all called out.
They headed home after that and just went and sat in the living room.
“So, how do you think he's gonna take it when we ask him if they want to move in with us?” Mitchel asked once they were all seated.
“He'll probably refuse at first, saying we've done more than enough for them already.” Nathan answered.
“Pretty much what I was thinking as well.” James said, and the others all nodded.
“I think Michael will come to his senses before too long though, but given none of us have even really met Tony yet, who's to say what he'll be like.” Mitchel said.
“I imagine we'll finally meet him tomorrow morning some time.”
“I hope so.”
“You boys should probably go and do some more school work, you've missed a bit today.”
“Yeah, but we're probably still way ahead.” Nathan pointed out.
“And you want to stay that way too, so go get some more work done boys.” James smiled, and the boys nodded and headed off.
James too headed out, only he headed to his office and got some more writing done. For the rest of the day, they did not a whole lot, but that was fine too. They went to bed at about their regular time and had a good workout, both couples enjoying themselves a great deal. The next morning they all got up, had breakfast and went about their morning workout, and then got all cleaned and diapered for the day. They knew that when they saw Tony, that he would also be wearing diapers, so they were not worried about only wearing that. Shortly after they finished, Michael and Tony came out of their bedroom, and as suspected, they were both only in their soggy night diapers.
“Morning guys.” Michael said, still yawning.
“Morning.” They all said.
“Guys, as I'm no doubt sure you're aware, this is Tony. Tony, this is James, Nathan, Isaac, he's my cousin, and this is of course my brother Mitchel.”
“Well, Mitchel, you look exactly like Michael does, or at least did when we met, so I'd almost certainly recognize you. Even you Isaac look a lot like them, the family resemblance is amazing. It's really good to finally meet all of you though. And James, thanks so much for everything that you've done for us. I have no idea what we would've done without your help on the store. We would've been forced to close it, probably forever.”
“You're welcome, and I couldn't let Michael have that happen. It's really good to meet you too though. We've all heard a lot about you.”
“All bad I'm sure.”
“Of course.” James grinned.
“Come on guys, let's sit down for a few minutes, we want to talk to you about something.” James said.
“What would you like James?” Michael asked.
“It's not so much what I want, it's more what your brother wants, so Mitchel, you get to ask.”
“I want you guys to move in here and stay with us, I want for you to be here with us, because I think you need to be here and finally have a family again, same as I do.” Mitchel said with no more prompting.
“Oh Mitchel, we can't stay for long, we couldn't possibly intrude for long. Once we get back on our feet again, we'll find our own place.” Michael said softly.
“We all knew you were gonna say that. However, give us one good reason why staying here wouldn't be good?”
“We have our own life now and living with someone else would be hard to do.” Michael answered.
“Oh, okay I guess that's a pretty good reason why not. So, let me give you a few reasons why you should stay here. First, is that here you have family, and I know you haven't had that for a long time. Trust me, having a real family again is so amazing, and we all understand each other so much, because we're all the same here. Second, do you think you'll ever be able to afford to live in such a nice place as this? Third, I know you love all the amenities here, how could you not, so that brings us to reason number two. Fourth, I know that Tony often has to work away from home and can be away from home for a couple weeks at a time, and I doubt you enjoy being all alone like that, so being here could help with that. And fifth, how could it be any better than to live with others who are the same as you?”
“Okay, those are all really good reasons to stay, and I admit that I do hate it when Tony goes away for more than a couple days. You'll have to give us the time to talk it over though. We won't really be able to leave for a few days anyway, so give us at least a day or two.” Michael said softly.
“Okay, just don't take too long.” Mitchel smiled warmly.
“Great. So Tony, other than Michael and diapers, what are you into? We've heard a lot about you, but nothing really about what you're into.” James asked.
“Surprisingly little actually. I don't really have any hobbies or other desires. I'm really kinda boring to tell you the truth.” Tony shrugged.
“He's not actually lying. I have to drag him out to do things. He'd stay home all the time if I didn't.” Michael grinned.
“I was a really shy child, like super shy, and even though I've gotten better, I still don't like being around a lot of people.” Tony said in way of explanation.
“Know how you feel there actually. I've gone weeks without leaving the house at all, and when I did leave, it was only to go shopping.” James said.
“I'd do the same thing too actually. It's probably for the best that I have Michael, because amazingly enough, he's not shy at all. Not even really sure how we fell for each other, it just seemed to happen.”
“That's good. So, how did you two meet anyway and become boyfriends?” Nathan asked curiously, they had not heard the story from Tony yet.
“We quite literally bumped into each other one day, I was just eighteen and he was just fifteen, our birthdays, as we found out a couple days later, were only five days before, on the same day. My parents had given me a gift card for the mall, so I was there trying to find something that I wanted, for my birthday, and I was in the electronics section just poking around, not paying attention to where I was or what I was doing.” Michael started.
“And I was in the mall, trying once again to escape my parents, they were being really hard on me, my birthday was a wreck to say the least, and I was so depressed, I was thinking of running away. I was in the electronics section looking at all the things I wished I could buy, but couldn't, when wham, I turned around and smacked right into this hot older boy.”
“I turned around right at the same time, and we smashed right into each other, and because I'm pretty short, and Michael was tall for his age, we ended up damn near kissing as we bumped into each other. We apologized, but the funny thing was, neither of us moved, I think we both felt something, and then we definitely felt something as we both started getting hard. Blushing, we finally fell apart, apologizing again, but I know I speak for both of us when I say, we fell in love at first sight. I asked him what he was doing and if he'd like to go get a drink.”
“I answered that I'd really like that. Never before had I felt for someone what I felt for Tony right then. We went to the food fair, he bought us a couple drinks, and we sat for the better part of an hour, just talking. Every day after that, we met up and we talked and talked and talked. It wasn't even three days later that we went for a drive, we thought we were alone, and I was feeling more than a little aggressive, as we were parked there talking, I leaned over and kissed Tony. At first he was shocked, maybe a second or two, and then we started kissing like lovers. We were there for more than an hour, and not for lack of wanting, we managed to not give ourselves to each other fully, but neither of us felt it was right in the front seat of a car to share what we were feeling for our first time. Although, we have since then carried on from that scene.” Michael smiled.
“Yeah, and after that, I tell you, I wanted to take Michael home with me and introduce him to everything that I had been reading about, I was and am an avid reader, gay sex stories just being one of the many things I read. I took him home though, against my better judgment I tell you, and then not even four hours later, he was on my doorstep, a cross between angry and crying.”
“Yeah, it seems that someone saw us, I never asked who, and my parents received the report long before I even got home. I walked in the door, and I saw their faces and knew something was wrong. They told me to go sit in the living room, so I did. They came in and told me that a friend of theirs saw me in the front seat of a car kissing and carrying on with another boy, that I was sick, so on and so forth, blah blah blah, you know the drill. They gave me the same ultimatum they gave to you two Mitchel and Isaac, and crying, I went to my room and packed all that I could take with me. As I left though, I called them fucking insensitive pricks who didn't deserve me, even if I was gay, that they were haters and haters suffered hell for eternity. I closed the door and left before they could try and tell me how wrong I was, of course they're the ones who are wrong, but they'll never admit it. I walked all the way to Tony's place. Most of the tears had dried by the time I arrived, but I was still so angry. I wasn't so much sad that they kicked me out, it didn't actually surprise me at all to tell you the truth that they didn't love me.”
“As soon as I saw him standing there, I asked what was wrong, so he told me, and I dragged him in and gave him a nice big hug. My parents came in then, asking what was the matter and who this little street urchin was, just kidding, they didn't call him that. I told them that he was who I was hoping would one day soon be my boyfriend. Michael, obviously afraid that my parents would react like his did, tightened up and tried to leave, but they just said that's nice, but why's he here, carrying all his things and crying. I told them what had happened, and before we could say anything further, they told Michael that he was going to have to stay there with us, until the two of us got on our feet and that he could either take the spare room or stay with me.”
“To say I was dumbfounded would be an understatement. I was just kicked out by my parents, all adults were horrible, and here these two people were accepting me in with open arms. I found out that night that Tony's parents had known since he was eight that he was gay, but had made Tony admit it to them when he was thirteen, because they had been afraid he was suicidal, he was so depressed. They told me that their oldest friends were a gay couple, and that it didn't mean anything to them at all, and were happy for us. By the way, I stayed with Tony. Tony was just about to move out, almost all his things were already packed and he had an apartment already waiting for him, he just had to wait 'til the beginning of the month to move, and I was going to move in with him. His parents were going to pay the rent while he was in school, he was going to university to become a safety engineer, and while he had a lot saved, he wasn't going to be able to pay it all. We moved about two weeks after that, and it was great.”
“It was great, though I did miss my parents, so we were at their place for dinner a lot at the beginning, and were at their place lots as well during the weekend. My parents weren't rich or anything, but they did very well for themselves, and I was treated very well being their only child. But then, just as we were finally starting to get comfortable, we weren't needing to go there as often, we were enjoying our alone time, my parents were both killed. Drunk driver, the police investigator said they died instantly, but at least so did the bastard that killed them. I hope he didn't die instantly though, I hope he suffered for a bit first. They had life insurance, and I received a settlement for the accident, the house was paid off, and I had lots of money. I sold the house, there were too many memories there for me, I just couldn't take it, so I sold it. I paid off my schooling, even though I still had a couple years left to go, and bought the apartment, so that we didn't have to worry about rent, and kept almost a hundred thousand in our personal account, for everything else, and I invested the rest. Yeah, apparently the guy I invested with was a real creep, and even though he was sending us good reports on everything, telling us what all the money was doing, so on and so forth, I received word through an investigator about six months ago now that he was in jail and on trial for theft of millions of dollars of clients money. Because I left the money and did not try and use any of it, I never noticed that it was gone, others did though, so, now we're about as broke as can be. I still have several thousand dollars of the savings, and we're making more now, and I make some money off the rental of the apartment, but it's in a lease, so I can't kick them out for at least another year and a half, but we had the house we were renting.”
“Yeah, the past few years has been really hard on us, my parents disowning me, his parents dying, someone stealing all his money, and while we may eventually get some of it back, chances are it's all gone, the store getting destroyed and now our house burning. I'm starting to feel more than just a little cursed. I know my mom was a real bitch, but I'm wondering if witch may have been closer and she actually cursed me. At least we have always had each other, our love for each other has never faltered at all, I now have Mitchel and Isaac back, and even the rest of you now, and you've all helped the two of us out huge. Still though, I can't help but wonder what else can possibly go wrong.” Michael finished off.
“Wow, that's some tale boys. And while I'm sure it feels as if you've been cursed, there's no such thing. Sometimes bad things happen, lord knows I know that well enough for myself. You've been told my story, in many ways it's the exact same, yet we all have so much to be happy for, so much to be thankful for, we all have each other now.” James smiled warmly to the two.
“Thanks.” They both said softly.
“Don't worry guys, everything will turn out alright now. I imagine that you have to head to work soon Michael, but 'til that time, is there anything you guys would like to do?” James asked.
“No, not really, but I'd like to take Tony out and show him the pool and have a good swim. I for one could use the relaxing hot tub after.” Michael smiled.
“Go for it guys. Mi casa et su casa, and for as long as you do stay here, whether permanent or temporary, you may feel free to use anything you like. Us boys though have had more than enough swimming for the morning though I think, so we'll go find something else to do. Will you be going straight to work after that Michael?”
“Thanks a lot James, and yeah, I will.”
“And what will you do for the rest of the day Tony?” James asked.
“When I'm in town, I usually go to the store and work there with Michael, to help him out and be with him.”
“Okay, or you're welcome to stay here with us of course.”
“Thanks, but that's okay.” He smiled shyly.
“Okay, but any time you want to, you can stay here with us too.” James smiled warmly.
“Thanks.” He said more shyly still.
“Come on Tony.” Michael urged, grabbing his hand tenderly and leading him from the others. He could see that Tony was getting shy again, and he did not want for him to shut down again.
“How does he manage in a job that must keep him in constant contact with other people all the time if he's so shy around us?” Nathan asked curiously once the two were out of earshot.
“Don't really now. My guess is that he avoids most people as much as possible, and I'm betting he doesn't talk a lot. Granted, he could be totally different while at work. There he doesn't have to like anyone, care for anyone, do anything he doesn't want to do, so maybe it easy for him, whereas actually dealing with people he thinks he's obligated to like is much more difficult. Whatever you boys do though, don't push him on anything, he has to warm up to us slowly on his own.”
“Okay.” All three boys said.
“Good. So, what should we do boys, actually, never mind, aren't you boys supposed to be doing your school work?” James asked, and then realized that the boys were in fact supposed to be doing their school work. He was not at all used to having kids in school, hell he was barely used to having kids yet.
“Oh right, I suppose we should probably go do that.” Nathan smiled.
The other two laughed as well, and before much longer, they were all doing their work.
“You know, they won't bite right?” Michael asked Tony softly as they entered the pool house.
“I know, but you know how hard it is for me to make friends and stuff, and how much of a screw up I am around other people.”
“Can you please stop talking about yourself like that, we both know you are so far from a screw up it's not even funny. You're brilliant, and even though you don't let me say so, you're very funny too. Don't force it though, just get used to them, and I think you'll learn to really like them as well. What would you think of living here though?” Michael asked as they slipped in the hot tub. They had talked as they were removing their soggy diapers and showering, and they wanted to soak in the hot tub first, so that was where they headed first.
“I don't know. I'm really nervous about living here with people I hardly know, but I have to admit that the house is awesome, so far anyway.”
“It is. You haven't gotten a chance to experience the theatre yet, but trust me, it's every bit as good as going to the theatre, except less noise and no one sitting in front of you.” Michael grinned.
“That sounds nice. Maybe we can check that out later.” Tony smiled, for he was a true movie buff, and it was one of the few things he truly enjoyed.
“You won't really be allowed too much sweets and stuff here though.” Michael warned.
“Why, you know how I am while watching a movie, I have to have pop?”
“It's not allowed in the house, nor are most sweets and treats. The boys have really helped James to lose a lot of weight from what I understand, he used to be way bigger than he is now, but they have him on a pretty strict diet. If you really insist, I'm sure that we could keep some pop in our own bedroom and bring it out only while the others aren't with us. Since the only time we'd really be able to watch movies is in the morning, and they at night, it could work. If we all watch one together though, you'd probably get some pretty dirty looks if you did so.” Michael grinned.
“Oh. I've never
even dreamed of not having any treats in the house.”
“Well, I never grew up with any at all, and even still you know I don't really care for most of them, including pop.”
“Yeah, but you're just not normal.” Tony teased.
“Never heard you complain about my lack of normalcy before.” Michael teased right back, grinning again.
“Amen for your not being normal I guess.” Tony had to admit.
The rest of the day for the guys went by fairly quick. Before too long, Michael and Tony headed out for work and spent the entire rest of the day there. James spent the rest of the time that the boys were working doing some more writing, and he had to admit that this was bound to be his best seller, at least he thought it was good. Once the boys were finished their work for the day, the four of them all sat back and relaxed for the rest of the day watching TV, having dinner at their appropriate time.
The rest of the week also went by pretty well, much the same thing taking place every day, once again, nothing much was different. Benji did come over one of the nights to spend time with the guys. James also went to the store a while after Tony and Michael went and opened to talk to them, he had told the boys that he just had to run out for a few minutes, and amazingly enough, they let him go. He let them know about the trip he and the boys were going to be taking the next week, and that it was going to last at least a month, so asked for them to at least stay living with them for that long, so that they could watch the house. They agreed tot hat right away, seeing as how they still had not heard anything from the fire investigation. It was Friday night before they heard anything at all, but they decided to just tell the guys the following morning.
Saturday morning, James and the boys all got up and went about their normal morning routines as they normally did. They had breakfast, went and did their morning workout, and then they all dove and had fun, but all of them learning. Once again, Nathan had upped the exercise routine for James. The night before had been at least an hour and a half, and Nathan really made James thrust hard the entire time. Well, Nathan really got them all working on core building exercises, and pushed them all for an hour and a half now instead of their more normal hour, and it would stay that way from then on. For the rest of that week, Nathan and James had also made sure to exercise nightly, not that either felt it was that, but it sure worked, well.
“How are you guys this morning?” James asked Michael and Tony as they walked into the kitchen where they all were, they had just arrived themselves and they were all grabbing a drink and a couple pieces of fruit.
“Good, and you guys?” Tony asked. He was slowly starting to loosen up around the guys, and was talking a little more freely now with them all.
“Really good. Although I have to admit that the workout the boys put me through this morning, on top of the really good workout that Nathan gave me last night, I feel like I'm just one big bundle of hurt.” James grinned, even though it did feel good, and he knew it was working.
“It's good for you.” Nathan smiled warmly.
“Wasn't saying that it wasn't.”
“Guess what guys, the fire inspector finally called last night with the results of the inspection.” Michael said finally.
“Really, what did they say?” James asked.
“Totally the fault of the car, it was the faulty wiring that caused the fire and all the subsequent damage. He told me that he had already informed the car manufacturer, and that I was to call them. It wasn't too late after we got the full report, so I called the number that we were given, and talked directly with the CEO.” Michael said.
“Really, directly to the CEO, wow, they must want this taken care of quickly and painlessly then.” James whistled.
“Yeah, that was pretty much what he said as well. He started off by apologizing from the bottom of his heart, saying that they had just found the fault only two weeks ago, and all the recall letters had been sent out as fast as they could get them out. He asked me approximately how much stuff was in the house that we lost, so I told him it wasn't much, maybe ten thousand dollars replacement cost, and he said that he would take care of that. He then asked if we owned or rented, I said rented, he told me to give him the name of the house owner, so I did. We talked for a bit more, and he had to have apologized at least five more times in just that short time. He told me that the local car dealership was going to be called, and that I was to go in and pick the vehicle of my choice, cost didn't matter any at all, and that he would even upgrade the warranty to the best they had free of charge. He then said that he was going to send us a five hundred thousand dollar check to cover the loss of all our things and for the pain that we must have suffered because of their faulty wiring. I admit I nearly passed out, and asked if he had said as much as he did, and he said that it was going to be sent out first thing Monday morning, if we agreed to it. He said that he would rather we not go to court for it, and that in no way was he trying to buy our silence, that it was their fault, plain and simple, and were admitting it to the press, but that going through court would only add time and cost to everything. I agreed, and personally, I thought that the amount they offered was far more than was really warranted, but who was I to argue. So, I guess we get to go pick out a new car this morning.” Michael said, all the boys' mouths dropped open and James just smiled.
“That's excellent guys, we're all happy for you. This time I suggest you find a better money guy though so that you can keep your wealth. You should probably head out now then to go pick out your new car Michael, so that you can get to work on time this afternoon. Not that it matters all that much really, since you are the owner after all.”
“Yeah, but I have no idea what to get.”
“You'll find the perfect one there, don't worry. I don't suggest though that you go and get some super sports car or anything like that, they only ever ask for trouble.” James suggested.
“I'd never do that, maybe something a little sportier, but nothing crazy. I actually like your van, it's also a hybrid, so maybe I'll get one of them.”
“The choice is certainly yours.” James smiled, he had known that Michael would never buy anything flashy, it just was not his personality.
“Thanks. Well, you guys have a good day, and I imagine that we'll see you tomorrow morning now.”
“Yeah, because as soon as Benji arrives, we're probably gonna head out.”
“Then you should be heading out right now, because I see him walking up the drive.” Tony said.
Sure enough, a few seconds later, the doorbell rang and Benji just opened the door and walked right in, he had been told to just come on in, but he always rang the doorbell first anyway.
“Hi guys, ready to go?” He asked as they all came to the top of the stairs to greet him.
“Sure, just let us go get dressed, we'll be right down. You may as well go out to the garage and hop in the van though.” James said.
“Okay.” He smiled and went downstairs to go to the garage.
“See ya guys.” Michael said, because he and Tony, who were already dressed, decided that they may as well head right out.
“Bye guys, have fun.” James smiled.
“You too.” They smiled back and headed out.
James and the boys all headed right to their bedrooms and got their boyfriends dressed and ready for the day ahead. As soon as they were ready, they too headed to the van and once ready, headed out. On their way, they told Benji what had been happening and everything, and he was happy for Michael and Tony. They hit the grocery store first and got all the supplies that they would need for the soup kitchen, once again they had three buggies full, and then they hit the thrift store to get more clothes. Four full buggies full of clothes, this time they had both adult and kids, because more than a few of the adults had threadbare clothing and also needed clothes, and they thought it would be nice. Finally they made it to the soup kitchen and started helping out.
The day was good, they had lots of people there, and almost everyone walked away with at least one full set of clothes. They all walked away though with a good full stomach, full of good healthy food. During their time there, James pulled the manager aside and warned him that he and the boys would not be back for at least a month, but passed him a check for five thousand dollars so that he could go and buy good fresh food a few times for all the needy people. Finally James and the boys headed out.
“What was that you passed to Phil, Dad?” Nathan asked curiously.
“Nothing much, just a bonus check, I felt that he deserved it for all the good work he does, because I'm sure the government doesn't pay him near enough.” James answered so smoothly that the boys all believed him.
“Oh, that was nice of you.” Nathan smiled warmly.
“He seemed to think so. Would you like us to drop you off at home Benji, or are you gonna walk from our place?”
“I'll just walk, it's not far and there's no point in you back tracking just for me. Besides, it's nice out.” Benji smiled.
As soon as they got home, Benji took his leave, and the others headed in to go get themselves an early dinner, because once again they were all very hungry. They made and ate dinner, then sat back and relaxed the night away until bedtime, or more appropriately exercise fun time. They all had a good time tonight, as they always do of course, and all nearly passed out from being so satisfyingly sexually exhausted. Sunday passed by far too quickly to be healthy, yet about the only thing they did was to go out and admire Michael's new van, he got the same model as James', just a different color, otherwise they were identical in nearly every way. For the rest of the day, they all watched movies and TV together, and James and Nathan sat back and wrote for a bit.