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            The Guardian

Installment 3

by Erastes
Copyright 2015 by Erastes
Chapter 5 – Starting Over. 

After I'd called my boss and the various schools to take care of everything, I dialed the rental agency next, to see if they had a truck available.  They did, so I reserved it, gave them my credit card information and told them I'd be in to pick it up sometime within the next two hours. 

I then went upstairs to wake Marcus and Ethan.  After I got them moving, I headed downstairs to fix their breakfast.  This morning I made each of them an omelet, along with a few home fries and orange juice. 

"This is really good.  I've never had anything like this before," Marcus told me after taking his first bite.  His eyes lit up and he was simply glowing, as he quickly scooped up another mouthful. 

"I like it too," Ethan added, after he heard his brother's comment.

"Well thank you very much," I replied.  "I'll have you know that a cook always loves to hear that his or her food is being enjoyed and appreciated." 

"Yeah, I 'preciate this," Ethan added, speaking with a mouthful. 

"I don't remember Mom ever making this for us," Tyler commented, after thinking about it for a few minutes.  "I like it a lot, so I don't know why she didn't make this for us too." 

"I don't know either," I replied.  "It's not difficult to throw together and it only requires eggs, a little ham, cheese and a couple of other items to prepare it." 

"I want you to make it for us again," Marcus added, as he cleared off the rest of his plate. 

"Would you like some more now?" I asked when I saw he had devoured everything. 

"I don't think I can eat another one by myself," Marcus answered honestly. 

"Maybe your brothers will share it with you," I suggested, as I got up went to prepare one more. 

"Yeah, I'll take part of it," Tyler quickly offered. 

"Me too," another little voice chirped in, showing Ethan didn't want to be left out. 

I happily prepared one more omelet and split it into thirds, but I didn't do it evenly.  I cut off a small piece for Ethan, a larger one for Tyler and then Marcus got the rest.  The boys then scarfed it down as if they hadn't eaten for a week.  It was truly a sight to behold. 

Once they had finished and we'd cleaned up the mess, I loaded all of the boys into the car and drove them to the rental agency.  After filling out the paperwork, I gave the man a security deposit and paid for a couple days use, before parking my car in a public lot nearby.  Then, I had the boys get into the truck cab with me, with Ethan sitting on Tyler's lap and Marcus in the middle.  From there we drove to the grocery store and asked for some boxes.  They happily gave us a multitude of boxes in a wide variety of sizes and then I purchased some packing tape to put them together and seal them up.  As soon as we had everything we'd need, I drove over to my apartment. 

While Marcus and Ethan were busy carrying the cardboard boxes inside, Tyler helped me carry the various pieces of furniture outside and we began to load them into the truck. 

"Why are you taking this stuff?" Tyler wanted to know.  "You don't need it any more, since you have all of Mom and Dad's things." 

"I know and that's why I'm going to store it in the garage for now, but eventually I'll sell it," I replied.  "I just don't have time to do that now, so it will have to wait until I can get to it." 

That seemed to satisfy Tyler's curiosity, so we continued hauling the various items out to the truck.  Since Marcus and Ethan couldn't do very much after carrying the boxes inside, I asked them to run the vacuum cleaner in the rooms we emptied out and just do a little cleaning for me.  After a few mild protests, they did as I asked.  Maybe it was because I told them if they didn't do what I wanted then I'd just leave them there, but I hoped they knew I was only joking. 

Tyler and I were loading the contents of the dresser and desk drawers into boxes before we carried those pieces of furniture outside, but I only had a one-bedroom apartment and not a great deal of furniture, so it went rather quickly.  The toughest items for us to move were the sofa, the dresser, and the mattress and box springs, because they were so large and bulky, but some were also heavy.  The chair and the end tables from the living room, the nightstands from the bedroom and the kitchen table and chairs were all fairly easy to move.  In fact, Marcus was even able to help us with some of those things. 

Once the furniture was in the truck, I started packing more of my possessions into the boxes and Tyler would tape them shut.  Then we'd all carry something out to the truck, with Ethan and Marcus taking the smallest and lightest boxes.  By lunchtime, we had most of my things loaded up, so I drove the truck over to the house and backed it into the driveway.  Then, I took the boys inside without unloading it, so I could feed them. 

"Dang, I'm really hungry now," Marcus said as we came inside. 

"You're always hungry," Tyler teased, as he tousled Marcus' hair. 

"Well I'm even more hungry now, after doing all that work," Marcus replied, after swatting his brother's hand away from his head. 

"You didn't work as hard as me and Uncle Blake, but you didn't do bad," Tyler conceded. 

After we finished eating, I told the boys we would rest up for about a half hour first, before we started unloading the truck and placing everything in the garage.  They all released a collective groan when I mentioned this.  Even though they weren't happy, they wouldn't have to carry the stuff very far, like up to the bedroom, so it should be fairly easy.  I figured I could sort things out there and then take what I needed inside, a little at a time. 

When we went out to the garage later, I noticed that we'd have to do a little rearranging first, so there would be enough room for my things.  Some of the items we'd have to move belonged to the boys, so I directed them what to do with it, while I took care of nearly everything else.  After we finished doing that, I opened the cargo door on the truck and we started moving everything inside. 

We were all beat by the time we finished, and even though there were still a few more items back at the apartment, like the stuff in my storage area, I felt that could wait until tomorrow.  I told the boys we were finished for the day and that news was received with a very loud cheer. 

After we went inside, I suggested they might all like to soak in a tub of hot water for a while, to take some of the soreness out of their overworked muscles.  Ethan and Marcus agreed to do it together, as long as I filled the tub and the water wasn't too hot.  Tyler asked if he could do this in the master bathroom, since there was a nice tub in there, as well as a separate shower.  The boys' bathroom wasn't quite as fancy, but it was fine for them.  As soon as I told him I didn't have a problem with that, he raced upstairs and down the hall.  I take it his parents never let the boys use their bathroom, so this was a special treat for him. 

After Ethan and Marcus had soaked for a while, they got out of the tub, dried off and then went to put on some clean clothes.  While they were doing that, I went to the master bathroom to take a hot shower.  Tyler already had the tub filled and was soaking in it, so I didn't bother him.  I merely stripped down and stepped into the large shower stall, because I planned to loosen and soothe my sore muscles under a hot spray. 

While I was enjoying my leisurely shower, Tyler finished up, got out of the tub, dried off and then sat on the toilet seat, while waiting for me to get done.  I wasn't paying attention to him and didn't know he was still there as I finished up and opened the shower door. 

"Damn, you're really hung!" Tyler exclaimed, when he got a good look at me naked. 

"Not really.  I'm pretty average," I replied.  "It just looks big compared to yours, but then you're still growing." 

"I don't remember ever seeing my dad naked," he continued, but his eyes were still focused on my groin. 

"It's not something parents tend to do in front of their children," I mentioned, as I dried off.  "Maybe I should have checked to see if you were still in here first, before I came out." 

"Nah.  You've seen all of us naked, so this is only fair," Tyler rationalized. 

"Maybe so, but people might get the wrong idea if they ever heard about what just happened," I replied. 

"Why?  There's nothing wrong with it," Tyler stated, while looking at me defiantly. 

"No, there isn't, at least for most people," I agreed, "but some others tend to think the worst and would conclude this was wrong or inappropriate." 

"Well I'll never say anything about it, so they'll never know," Tyler assured me, to let me know I had nothing to worry about. 

"That's good to know," I confirmed.  "Now, go put some clothes on and I'll meet you downstairs." 

He didn't look happy, but did as I asked.  After he left the room, I began thinking about all of the little things he had done lately.  Was I reading too much into the situation or might he have some sort of crush on me?  His father never said anything about suspecting Tyler might be gay, because he probably would have, since he knew I was gay.  Matt never had a problem with my sexual orientation, so I think he would have sought my advice if he suspected one of his sons might be gay.  Putting that thought aside, I went out and got dressed too. 

After feeding the boys again, we decided to just chill out for the rest of the night.  We hunkered down on the sofa, in front of the TV, and zoned out.  Tyler was leaning against my shoulder on one side, Marcus on the other and Ethan was on my lap, leaning against my chest.  It soon appeared as if we were all fighting to stay awake, so after a while I decided it was a losing battle and sent them all up to bed.  I told them that since they'd soaked in the tub earlier, they could forget their baths and shower tonight, because we'd be doing more work tomorrow.  The younger pair cheered at the 'no bath' comment, but they all groaned when I mentioned more work.  After they finished expressing their displeasure with my idea, I chased them upstairs and began making certain everything was shut off as I locked up. 

Ethan and Marcus had already changed into their pajamas and were in bed when I got there, so I merely tucked them in and kissed them on the forehead, before bidding them sweet dreams.  Then I went to Tyler's room, since I didn't want to forget to say goodnight to him again.  He was standing in his underwear when I entered. 

"I was hoping you wouldn't forget me," he teased, when he looked up and spotted me. 

"I told you I wouldn't let that happen again," I replied, as I walked over and gave him a hug.  He eagerly hugged me back and I kissed him on top of the head again. 

"Goodnight, little man, and thank you for all of your help earlier.  I couldn't have done it without you," I stated sincerely, and this caused his face to light up. 

"You can always count on me, Uncle Blake," he confirmed, as a coy grin spread across his face.

Once he was in bed, I left his room and headed over to my own.  He was certainly a puzzle I would have to figure out, but that could wait until all of this other stuff had been taken care of. 

I was so tired that I didn't have any trouble falling asleep.  I also woke up alone in bed the next morning, which was the first time that had happened since I'd been there.  I wasn't sure if this meant the boys were coping with their parent's deaths and no longer needed me to reassure them.  It could have also meant they were just so tired out from all the work they'd done that they got lost in the throes of a dead man's sleep for the rest of the night. 

After waking them, I made waffles for the boys, covered in strawberries and with a dollop of whipped cream on top.  They all seemed to enjoy it, but then again maybe their taste buds weren't very discerning, since they seemed to like everything I prepared.  Once they were done eating, I had them get dressed so we could finish moving the rest of my things. 

We had to stop and pick up some more cardboard boxes and packing tape from the grocery store first, but things were a lot easier today.  We only had a partial load this time and then I made sure we scrubbed everything in the apartment before leaving the place.  It was spic and span before I locked up, so the landlord would have no reason to try and keep my security deposit.  Once the place was secure, we drove back to the house, put everything in the garage and were finally done. 

After taking a short break, we loaded back into the truck and I drove to the rental agency.  After taking care of matters there and getting my security deposit back, we walked over to retrieve my car.  We all hopped inside, buckled up and then I took them to get some ice cream.  I felt they deserved a treat, especially after everything they'd done to help me over the past couple of days. 

"Thanks, Uncle Blake.  This was really nice of you," Ethan told me after he'd finished his cone. 

"I wasn't being nice," I told him, which drew a puzzled look.  "It's a partial payment for helping me.  The rest will come this weekend, when I take you to the park to work on your baseball skills." 

Once again, this news was greeted with a loud cheer and then we went home to rest up.  I think we all realized this was truly a T.G.I.F., if ever there was one, and the weekend was now finally upon us. 

The rest of the afternoon and evening was pretty low-key.  I checked my email and discovered the videographer had sent me the video of the calling hours and funeral.  I quickly downloaded and watched it, before copying it onto a flash drive I was going to use for this purpose.  The Weavers had access to a computer where they lived, but didn't have one of their own, so I would mail the flash drive to them instead of sending it via an email. 

After I finished doing that, we watched a couple of movies together, which had been chosen by the boys.  Once the movies ended, I had the boys get cleaned up and then I tucked them in bed.  Even Tyler didn't complain when I did this for him, since he was already in bed by the time I got there. 

"Goodnight, champ, and sweet dreams," I stated, as I kissed his forehead. 

"Night, Uncle Blake," he replied through a yawn, and then he rolled over and closed his eyes. 

Once the boys woke up Saturday morning, we rushed through our usual morning ritual and then I sent them upstairs to get dressed.  I had to do some grocery shopping today, since I noticed we were running out of a few things.  Before we left, I asked the boys if they took their lunch to school or bought, so I'd know if I had to pick stuff up for their lunches too. 

They all told me it depended on what they were having in the cafeteria that day.  Most of the time they bought their lunch, but once in a while they took it instead, especially when the cafeteria was having hash or one of their other least favorite dishes.  Tyler said there was a school menu on the side of the fridge, so we could check it out for next week.  I also knew we had plenty of lunch meat that had been dropped off a couple of days earlier, much of which I'd placed in freezer bags and then stored in the freezer.  I felt that would do if the boys didn't like what the school was offering, but I might have to pick up some fruit cups and juice boxes to go with it. 

They all had to go with me to do the shopping, since I wasn't about to leave them alone.  I also wanted them there so I could find out what they liked and didn't like, since the nightly meal preparation would depend on that.  We went up and down nearly every aisle, as I asked the boys how they felt about this item or that.  I also grabbed a small bubble mailer envelope, so I could mail the flash drive to Matt's parents.  Once I was convinced that we had everything we needed, we checked out and I wheeled the groceries to the car.  We barely got everything into the trunk, but I was glad we did, because I didn't want to have to squeeze what was left into the car with the boys. 

They also helped me carry everything inside and put it away when we got home.  There was some hesitation about doing it at first, so I merely told them that anyone who didn't help wouldn't eat.  That seemed to do the trick and I didn't hear any more complaints.  I hoped they all realized I wouldn't actually let them starve, but I might give them something they weren't overly fond of to pay them back. 

Later, while we were having lunch, I made an announcement.  "As soon as you finish eating, go get your baseball gloves and bats, while I dig the baseballs out of the boxes in the garage.  We'll work on a few things today and then tomorrow we'll go back to the park and work on some other stuff." 

I immediately saw some fist pumping and high-fives being exchanged, along with some shouts of approval, so I knew the boys liked the idea.  As soon as they finished wolfing down the last bites of their lunch, they raced off to grab their baseball caps, gloves and bats, while I headed out to the garage to find the box I'd marked 'sports'.  It contained all of the sporting equipment I had kept in the storage area at my apartment and I'd marked the box clearly, because I knew it would be one of the first things I would need. 

The boys were all bouncing around as they got into the car and buckled up, but they were also full of questions as I drove to the park. 

"Are we gonna play a game?" Ethan asked, innocently. 

"We haven't got enough people to do that, but I figured today we'd work on your throwing, catching and fielding," I replied. 

"I can throw and catch, so why do I gotta do that?" Marcus wanted to know. 

"I just want to see how good you are and maybe offer a few pointers," I answered.  "I haven't seen any of you play before, so I felt it would be best to check it out first." 

"Ok, but you'll see," Marcus shot back, still slightly annoyed. 

"So are you going to hit grounders and flies to us?" Tyler asked next.  Before I had a chance to answer, Ethan piped up. 

"He's gonna hit baseballs, not flies," he chastised his brother from the backseat. 

"Not those kinds of flies," I told Ethan.  "Your bother means fly balls.  That's when I hit the ball up in the air for you guys to catch.  I'll also hit some grounders, which are balls that I hit on the ground for you to scoop up and throw back to me." 

"Oh, ok," Ethan mumbled, now that he understood the difference between the two.  

Once we got to the park, I pulled up next to the ball field.  We quickly hopped out of the car, grabbed all of the gear out of the trunk and lugged it near home plate.  The boys then retrieved their gloves and started playing catch.  As I watched them, I gave Ethan some pointers about stepping toward the person he was throwing to and looking the ball into his glove when catching it.  Then, I advised Marcus that he should bring his throwing arm over the top more, rather than the three-quarters delivery I saw him using.  I even demonstrated what I meant, to make certain he understood.  Then, I started throwing back and forth with Ethan, while Tyler and Marcus warmed up together. 

Once I felt their arms were loose, I told them to go out to the short stop area and I'd hit them some ground balls.  I had Tyler go first, so the other two could watch how he moved and did this.  He was fairly good, but I tried to improve his stance a little, as well as getting him to be a little more aggressive about charging the slow rollers.  He seemed to take instruction quite well, so I moved on to Marcus.  I asked Tyler to stand on the first base side of the pitcher's mound so Marcus could practice fielding and then throwing to him, and Tyler had no problem with doing that. 

After Marcus had fielded a bunch of balls and I'd offered him a few suggestions, I moved on to Ethan next.  Of course I didn't hit the ball as hard to him, but he was still having some difficulty with the skill.  I advised him to stay down on the ball and not pull his glove up so quickly, so the ball wouldn't keep rolling under the glove and between his legs.  I also had him work on stepping and throwing to Tyler, until he got much better at it. 

Once I finished with him, we started a new round with Tyler and I gave each of the boys another chance to do it again.  Once I felt they were all fairly good at fielding grounders, I sent Tyler out to left field and hit some fly balls to him.  I tried to teach him how to align his body with the balls hit directly at him, so he was ready to throw as soon as the ball was in his glove.  Then, I made him run after a few balls that I hit to either his right or left, to see what kind of range he had.  He wasn't doing badly, but I also advised him that he'd have to learn to watch how the batter swung, so he'd be able to start moving at the crack of the bat. 

I then did something similar with Marcus, but I didn't make him run quite as far as I'd done with his brother.  I figured we could do that later, but for now I just wanted to see how well he could judge and handle fly balls.  During this process, I suggested to him that he work on looking the ball into his glove and using two hands, so the ball didn't pop out.  Overall, though, he did much better than I'd expected. 

When it came to Ethan's turn, I had him stand on the outfield grass just behind short, but I threw the balls into the air to him, rather than hit them.  This way I could control the height and direction better, plus the ball wouldn't have any odd spin on it, such as after coming off the bat.  I spent a lot of time with Ethan on judging the depth of the ball, so he'd know if he had to go back or move forward to catch it.  I also worked with him about watching the ball into his glove and using two hands, as I had done with Marcus, and then I let the boys do it all over again. 

"Not bad," I told them, as we were carrying everything back to the car.  "Tomorrow we'll work on hitting.  I'll pitch and then those not batting can field the balls and get some more practice with their fielding." 

The boys seemed to like that idea, so they didn't give me any lip about ending today's session.  However, Tyler did have a question for me on the ride home. 

"Do you know much about pitching, Uncle Blake?" he wanted to know, and I nodded my head in response.  "I want to pitch this year, so do you think you could work with me on that?" 

"I'd love to, but it would probably be best if I picked up a catcher's mitt first," I answered.  "I figure you probably throw too hard for me to catch with a regular baseball glove, but using the mitt will also get you used to focusing on that particular target as well.  We won't be able to do that tomorrow, but I promise we'll get started on it soon." 

"We'd better, because it's almost baseball season," he countered.  "I wasn't sure if I was going to try out for the school team this year, but if you're going to help me, then I think I will." 

"Ok, I like that idea and then you and Marcus can sign up for the summer baseball program when that starts," I agreed. 

"How 'bout me?" Ethan piped up, since I hadn't mentioned him.

"I'll see if they have a tee-ball league and if they do I'll sign you up for that," I replied, which gained me a huge grin in return.  "In fact, I'll even pick up a tee when I get the catcher's mitt.  It won't hurt any of you to practice on one, so you can get used to looking at the ball hitting the bat.  We can also adjust it for different height pitches too."  

The boys seemed quite pleased with my responses, so I considered today a success.  This part of being a parent I was going to like, since I've always been quite active in sports.  I was just hoping everything else would go this well. 

As soon as we got back to the house, I had the boys bring their dirty clothes down from their rooms, so I could do some laundry.  I was convinced they each had a collection of soiled items in the hampers in their bedrooms by now, so I had them retrieve everything, so we could get prepared for the new week.  Maybe I'll even start teaching Tyler how to do this, so he can help me from now on. 

After we started doing the laundry, I suddenly thought of something else.  Each of the boys had a hamper in his bedroom for the dirty things and there was another in the master bedroom.  Currently, it still had some of Matt and Kelly's clothing in it, so I'd have to start moving their things out to make room for my stuff.  The problem was, I didn't think the boys would be ready to deal with that just yet, so I'd have to take care of it when they weren't around. 

Once I put the boys to bed, I tossed Matt and Kelly's clothes into the washer.  There weren't many items, so I figured Kelly must have done their laundry not too long before.  While those items were going through the wash cycle, I grabbed a few boxes of my things out of the garage and carried them upstairs.  I quickly pulled all of Kelly's clothes out of the closet and tossed them on the bed, so I could start moving my things into that area.  Since I'd be able to wear some of Matt's clothes, especially his expensive suits after they'd been altered slightly, I merely pushed them to one side for now.  I didn't think the boys or my co-workers would be ready to see me wearing any of those items just yet. 

After I'd taken care of my clothing and the boxes were empty, I started to pack up Kelly's wardrobe.  I then marked those boxes with a KC for Kelly's clothes, so the boys wouldn't figure out what was in them.  I then stacked those boxes in the garage next to the remainder of my things, but stopped long enough to move what was in the washer to the dryer.  Later, I folded those things and placed them in a box too, before I gave in to my exhaustion and went to bed. 




            The Guardian

by Erastes
Copyright 2015 by Erastes
Chapter 6 – New Challenges. 

Sunday afternoon, I took the boys to the park again, but this time it was to work on their hitting.  I let Tyler go first and sent Ethan and Marcus to the outfield to shag balls.  I told Ethan he could get the ground balls that were hit and Marcus could go after the fly balls.  I didn't want Ethan to attempt catching any of those yet, because I was afraid he might misjudge one and get hurt.  He needed more practice first, before I would let him do that.  It's because I figured Tyler would hit the balls higher and harder than Marcus and I didn't want Ethan to accidentally get hit in the head with one. 

When Tyler stepped up to the plate, I focused on having him extend his arms fully during the swing and worked with him on opening his hips at the same time.  I also told him to make sure he concentrated on hitting the ball out in front of the plate, because doing those things would increase the velocity of his swing.  The momentum generated when he opened his hips and the added leverage from the arm extension would provide additional power when he made contact, so he'd hit the ball harder and farther. 

Previously, Tyler had been trying to do everything with just arm strength when making contact, so he wasn't effectively using his body momentum or leverage advantage to generate more power in his swing.  After he got used to doing this, he was pounding bullets through the infield and hitting the ball deeper in the outfield than he had ever done before, at least that's what he told me. 

"I can't believe how much better I'm doing," he stated joyfully, after he'd finished his turn at bat.  "If I do this good at tryouts, then I'm sure to make the team.  Thanks, Uncle Blake.  You're a terrific baseball coach, and if you can help me learn to pitch as good as you've taught me to hit, then I'll be awesome this year." 

"I'm glad you approve and I'll do my best to help you become a pitcher too," I replied.  "We might be able to start working on it later in the week, but definitely by next weekend." 

"Great!  I really love you, Uncle Blake," Tyler gushed, just before he ran to the outfield so he could change places with Marcus. 

I was slightly taken aback by his comment and the fact that he'd said he loved me, but then I realized it probably only had to do with my helping him improve his hitting and fielding.  I was determined to avoid reading more into his comment than that. 

When Marcus came in, I watched him take a few swings first and then decided on what I was going to work on with him.  I started by having him level out his swing, because I noticed his bat was moving at a slightly downward angle when he swung.  I also noticed that he kept stepping in the bucket, which meant his stride foot was moving away from the plate and pulling him off the pitch.  To correct this situation, I had him widen his stance so he was no longer striding forward, and then I had him rotate his body slightly, which opened his hips as he swung the bat.  At first, we did this without any pitches being thrown, so he'd get comfortable doing it.  When it looked as if he had the process down, I began pitching to him and he was doing much better. 

This time, I let Ethan field both the fly balls and the grounders, because Marcus didn't hit as hard or high as Tyler.  I felt this was more like what Ethan would face when he started playing, so he might as well get used to it.  Tyler was also in the outfield with him and was happy to give his brother pointers, whenever he saw Ethan doing something wrong. 

Finally, when it was Ethan's turn to bat, I pitched underhand, so it would be easier for him to make contact.  Basically, I just focused on Ethan's coordination and had him concentrate on making contact with the ball.  I felt once he was hitting the ball consistently, then we'd start working on some of the finer points of hitting. 

After the three boys had been able to come to bat for two turns, each time hitting about 20 pitches, I then decided to call it a day.  They seemed happy with what we'd accomplished and were pretty tired from running around and shagging the balls that the other pair had hit. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent making sure the boys had everything ready for school the next day, since they would be returning to class for the first time since their parents died.  We checked to see what they were going to wear and that they had their books and assignments from the weekend before.  We also talked about whether they were going to buy or take their lunch.  Tyler decided he was going to buy, but Marcus and Ethan said they would take their lunch, because they didn't care for what was on the menu.  I told them I'd have their lunches prepared by the time they were ready to leave the next morning. 

I also realized something else.  I wouldn't be leaving for work until after the boys got on the bus, but they would be arriving home long before I did.  Since I was concerned about them being home alone until I got there, I went next door to speak with the neighbor, Brenda Riordan.  Once I'd explained the situation to her, she agreed the boys could stay at her house until I arrived home, so I thanked her for doing that for us.  Before I left, I thought of something else I wanted to ask her, but this time she said she'd have to speak with her husband first and then she'd get back to me.  Once that was settled, I returned to the house and explained the situation to the boys. 

"I'm old enough to stay here by myself," Tyler complained after he'd heard the news.  "I can watch Marcus and Ethan too." 

"And we might do that eventually," I conceded, "but for now we'll do it this way.  I know you're not happy, but I want you to go to the neighbor's house until I get to know you and your brothers better.  I've only been a parent for less than a week and I realize you boys have been on your best behavior so far, so I just want to make sure it stays that way." 

Tyler wasn't pleased, but he accepted my explanation.  I think he let the discussion drop for now so I wouldn't change my mind about possibly letting him kept an eye on the others at a later date.  He might have even been worried that I would stop helping him improve his baseball skills, if he put up too much of a fuss. 

Once that had been taken care of, I asked the boys what they would like for dinner the following evening.  Since I wasn't used to having to come home and fix such a large meal, as well as making sure their homework was done and getting them ready for the next day, I figured I'd order takeout.  Once we reached a consensus on what they wanted, I felt we were ready to start the new week. 

After dinner, the boys quickly disappeared, so they could do their own thing.  Tyler went up to his room, logged on to his computer and started chatting with some of his friends.  He reminded them that he'd be at school the next day and was trying to catch up on what he'd missed out on while he was gone.  While Tyler was doing that, Marcus and Ethan kept busy playing video games against each other in the family room.  Since they were all occupied, I spent my time relaxing in the living room and watching a couple of shows on TV. 

When their bedtimes approached, I gave Ethan his bath, tucked him in bed and kissed him goodnight.  Marcus was already taking his bath when I walked by, so I went to my room for a while.  Marcus called me when he was done, so I'd come down to tuck him in and kiss him goodnight too.  On my way back, Tyler was getting ready to go take his shower, but he stopped me in the hallway first. 

"Would you come in with me again, so we can talk while I'm taking my shower?" he wondered.  He stared at me apprehensively, as he awaited my reply. 

"Sure, if that's what you want," I agreed, which brought a smile to his face. 

I followed him into the bathroom and sat down on the toilet lid, while he was adjusting the temperature of the water. 

"What is it you want to talk to me about?" I asked, as he lowered his briefs.  He then stepped into the shower and disappeared behind the shower curtain. 


"I wanted to talk to you about having to stay with Mrs. Riordan after school," he stated.  "Can't I just stay here alone until you get home?  Marcus and Ethan can go over there, but I'm old enough to stay here by myself." 

"I told you earlier that I may allow you to do that eventually, but I want to do it this way for a while first," I replied.  "How did you boys work this out with your parents, since they both worked?" 

"Mom was always here when we got home," he answered.  "She made an arrangement with her boss so she could work through her lunch hour and then bring some work home to do.  That way, she would always be here when we got off the bus." 

"That's an interesting idea and I think I'll have to have a chat with my boss about maybe doing something like that too," I mused, after seeing the logic and practicality of the idea. 

"But you don't need to," Tyler whined.  "I'm old enough to stay here and watch my brothers so you won't have to do that." 

"I know, but it would actually make it easier on me too," I reasoned, as I heard him turn off the water and then saw the shower curtain slide back.  "That way I'd avoid the rush hour traffic and be home to make dinner.  Then, I could finish my work while you boys were getting ready for bed later." 

Tyler just rolled his eyes in disgust as he was drying himself.  He realized that if I did this, it still wouldn't allow him to assume more responsibility and gain the independence he sought.  Seeing his reaction, I decided to offer him a breadcrumb, so to speak. 

"If I can't arrange it with my boss to be here exactly when you boys arrive home from school, then maybe I'll let you watch the other two until I get here," I mentioned, which earned me a slight grin.  "You might have to watch your brothers for up to an hour, if that meets with your approval."  Suddenly, his grin turned into a huge smile. 

"Of course it is," he rapidly agreed. 

"Ok, but we'll leave it the way I've already set up until I can talk to my boss about it.  Will that meet with your approval?" I followed, as I eyed him suspiciously. 

"Yeah, I guess so," he relented.  "I was hoping you'd just let me do this, but I'll do it your way until you see what your boss says." 

As each of us declared a minor victory, Tyler wrapped the towel around his waist and walked down the hallway with me. 

"You don't have to go to your room first," he stated, when he saw me starting to veer in the other direction.  "You've seen me naked plenty of times already, so just come in here while I put my underwear on.  Then, you can say goodnight." 

I merely shrugged my shoulders and nodded slightly as I relented.  I followed him inside, as he grabbed a fresh pair of briefs out of his drawer and slipped them on.  Once he'd finished, he walked over to me and I gave him a hug, wished him sweet dreams and kissed him on top of the head. 

"I guess you can tuck me in too, if you want," he offered, while giving me a sideways glance. 

"If it won't bother you, then I'd love to," I agreed, since I realized it was actually what he wanted.  Otherwise, he never would have brought it up. 

As soon as he heard my answer, he jumped into bed and got comfortable.  I then pulled the covers up and tucked him in, before kissing him on the forehead this time. 

"Wow!  I got two kisses goodnight," he teased, while flashing me his patented grin. 

"Yes, since I didn't know you were going to let me tuck you in tonight, you ended up with a bonus," I responded, playfully. 

"Then maybe I should do this every night," he teased, while raising his eyebrows up and down provocatively.  I merely tousled his hair, before turning to leave the room. 

"Goodnight, little man," I added before pulling the door shut and I heard a mumbled "I love you" in response. 

The following morning was a blur of activity.  I got up early so I could take my shower first and then I woke the boys, so they could start getting ready.  While they were doing that, I went downstairs and made their breakfast, before packing Marcus and Ethan a lunch.  I munched on a few things while I was doing this, and then they came in and sat down at the table.  I ate a little more as they were chowing down, but then I went upstairs to get dressed.  I came down again just in time to see Tyler off, since his bus arrived first, and I handed him his lunch money as he was going out the door.  I also stayed until Marcus and Ethan got on their bus, and then I hopped in the car and drove to work. 

Once I got to the office, I thanked my boss for all that he'd done for me over the past week and then I mentioned my idea to him.  He said he wanted to think about it for a while first and then he'd get back to me.  I told him that would be fine, so I headed out to see how much I had to do in order to get caught up. 

It actually seemed strange to be back after being off for a week, because it hadn't really been like a vacation.  In fact, I'd probably worked just as hard or harder during that time and did many things that were unfamiliar to me.  Throughout the morning and afternoon, several of my coworkers stopped by to offer their condolences, since they knew how close Matt and I had been, plus they offered me good luck with my new family.  Someone had even made a new nameplate for my desk while I was away that read 'Daddy Blake.'  They must have done it after attending the calling hours, because I'd heard Tyler telling some of them that he and his brothers were going to be living with me from now on. 

Seeing my boss hadn't agreed to my new proposal yet, I ran a few errands on my lunch hour.  One of those was mailing the flash drive to Matt's parents, but I also picked up a couple of other items as well.  When I got back, I remembered to call the restaurant to order take out for later, which I would pick up on my way home.  I then attempted to mentally check that I'd done everything I needed to accomplish, while I did the rest of my job. 

I nearly forgot to stop and pick up the food on the way home, but I happened to think about it when my stomach began to growl, since I hadn't eaten anything for lunch.  Seeing I hadn't passed the restaurant yet, I was able to pull into their parking lot and then duck inside to get everything. 

As soon as I pulled in the driveway at home, I turned off the ignition, carried the food inside and set it on the counter.  Then I went back outside and collected the other items I'd picked up during my lunch hour.  I took one of the packages up to my bedroom, after leaving the other two items in the family room.  Then I headed next door to collect the boys and thank Brenda for watching them. 

The boys seemed really happy to see me, so I thanked Brenda and guided the boys home.  When we got inside, I told them to each grab a plate, fill it with what they wanted and then carry it into the dining room.  I offered to bring their drinks to them, so they wouldn't have to worry about that.  As I was filling the glasses, I was pleased to see Tyler helping Ethan fill his plate, since Ethan was having trouble reaching everything he wanted.  I quickly made a mental note to thank Tyler later, once Ethan wasn't around. 

As soon as we finished eating and had cleaned up the mess, I took the boys into the family room and showed them two of the items I'd purchased.  First, there was a batting tee they could all use.  It was a good one, so we could adjust the height to get them used to hitting pitches at different levels.  Then, I showed Tyler the catcher's mitt I'd picked up, so I could start working with him on pitching.  The boys were all thrilled with the items and thanked me multiple times, and then Marcus informed me that he might want to learn to pitch too.  I told him it would be fine if he decided to do it and I'd help him just like I was going to do with his brother. 

After those things had been taken care of, I made sure the boys had all done their homework and then I checked it over before allowing them to do what they wanted until bedtime.  Just as I had the previous evening, I gave Ethan his bath and put him to bed, before going to tuck Marcus in too.  Tyler didn't ask me to go in to speak with him while he was showering tonight, so I sat in my bedroom until I saw him return to his own room.  Then, I picked up the bag from my bed and headed across the hall to see him. 

Tyler turned around when I entered, just as he dropped the towel, so I tossed him the bag.  He caught it and immediately opened the bag to look inside.  Then, he broke into a huge grin.  Without hesitation, he reached inside, pulled out one of the packages and began ripping it open.  He was eager to pull out one of the pairs of colored boxer briefs I'd purchased for him. 

I'm not sure what was different this time, but seeing him so excited and watching his penis bounce up and down, as well as sway back and forth, it got to me for some reason.  I'd never been attracted to a boy like this before, at least not since I was that age too, but suddenly I noticed a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I also experienced a tingling in my groin, which told me I was becoming aroused.  I felt that I needed to quickly focus on something else before I lost control, so I turned my attention to what Tyler had in his hands. 

"Don't you want me to wash them first?" I asked, but he just shook his head. 

"Nah, they're fine," he assured me, as he happily started to slip his feet into a pair and pull them up his legs. 

Since I noticed the sensations in my body weren't going away, I turned to leave the room before he was able to notice what was happening.  When he saw me starting to leave, Tyler called out. 

"Don't go, Uncle Blake!" he shouted, stopping me in my tracks.  "I want you to tell me how you think they look on me."

As soon as he had the boxer briefs on, I did what he wanted.  "You look really great in them," I announced, but before I had a chance to leave, he rushed over and wrapped his arms around me in a powerful hug. 

"Thanks, Uncle Blake.  These are super," he gushed, as he pressed his body against mine and squeezed me tightly.  Then he pulled away slightly, looked into my face and spoke again.  "You're gay, aren't you Uncle Blake?" 

"I am, but I didn't know you knew that," I responded, slightly shocked. 

"I remember that you brought your boyfriend to a Christmas party at our house once," he answered, surprising me even more. 

"But you were just Ethan's age or even younger at the time," I commented, as I thought back to the occasion.  It was actually one of the last times my ex-boyfriend and I had done anything like that before breaking up. 

"But I still remember," Tyler replied, while giving me a provocative stare.  "Besides, I can tell you like what you see when you're checking me out."  My mouth immediately dropped open, since I was totally dumbfounded by his comment. 

"I was m-merely seeing how you were d-developing," I stammered, suddenly feeling as if I was being accused of something. 

"Maybe the first time," Tyler observed, "but not the times after that and definitely not now.  I felt your boner when I hugged you and I know that happened because of me." 

"No, it's just because I have to pee," I countered lamely, while trying to excuse my unexplained arousal. 

"It's ok, because I think I might be gay too," Tyler announced.  "I don't go all gaga over girls like my friends do and I don't think girls bodies are so great either.  I've seen pictures of naked girls before, both my age and older, but they don't do anything for me.  I like seeing naked boys better.  That's why I want to play sports, so I can see them in the showers." 

"That may be and there's nothing wrong with it, as long as you're doing these things with boys your own age and they don't take offense," I advised him. 

"But I want YOU to teach me stuff about being gay," Tyler shot back.  "I want you to show me everything I need to know." 

"Tyler, I'll be happy to find some articles for you to check out and maybe even select some gay literature you can read that explains about gay sex," I suggested, hoping that would suffice. 

"I don't want to read about it or even watch gay porn," Tyler stated, defiantly.  "I want you to do things with me, so you can teach me all about it."  I was slightly taken aback by his request and had to take a moment before I answered him. 

"Tyler, as wonderful as that might sound," I began, while trying not to deflate his ego, "it would be illegal for someone my age to do something with someone as young as you." 

"That's crap," Tyler snapped back, while shaking his head.  "Didn't you tell my brothers and me earlier that part of your job was seeing that we got a good education?" 

"Yes, but I was referring to school and maybe college later, so you'd have a good background for a productive life," I partially agreed. 

"Well I'll need this kind of education too and I want it to come from you," he challenged, while watching my reaction. 

"But if anyone else learned about what we were doing, then I would get locked up for a long time.  If that happened, what do you think would happen to you and your brothers?" I pointed out.  "You'd probably be placed into foster care and possibly not all with the same family.  That would be awful." 

"How would anyone else find out?  I'm not going to say anything and I'm sure you won't either, so it will be all right," he pleaded, in an attempt to convince me.  "Besides, I want you to do this, so it's different from what other people might do.  You're not asking me or trying to trick me into doing it with you.  I'm asking you to do it with me.  The guys that get locked up are the ones that force kids to do that stuff, so this would be totally different." 

"Maybe in your mind, but not in the eyes of the law," I countered, much to his chagrin. 

"Then screw the law," Tyler hissed, losing his cool.  "If you really love me and want to help, then you'll agree to do this."  He now stood in front of me and glared in my direction. 

"It's time for you to get some sleep, so we'll put this discussion off until another time," I offered, since I realized this debate could drag on for hours.  Seeing I didn't want that to happen, I felt this was the best way to end it for now.  

"Fine, but I'm not giving up," Tyler challenged.  "I really do love you, Uncle Blake, and I want you to teach me all about being gay.  I'm pretty sure I am, so you'd just be helping me out.  Please think about it, because I really want to do this." 

I didn't respond to his last comment and merely encouraged him to get into bed.  After he did, I tucked him in and went to kiss him on the forehead.  Before I realized what was happening, Tyler moved quicker than a cat below me and wrapped his arms around my neck, so he could pull my head lower.  Then, he kissed me on the lips, even opening his mouth slightly, hoping I'd do more.  I resisted the temptation and pulled away. 

"Look!  You've done the same thing to me!" he exclaimed and he tossed back the blankets, pulled down the front of his boxer briefs and exposed his erection.  "That shows I feel the same way about you too!" 

"Good night, little man, and try to get some sleep," I told him before leaving the room. 

"Goodnight, Uncle Blake, and I really do love you," he called out as I was shutting the bedroom door. 

Still perplexed and bewildered about what had just happened, I went into my bedroom and sat down on the edge of the bed.  I let my mind run over everything that had just taken place, from my unexpected arousal, to Tyler's proposition, his sensual kiss goodnight and his equally aroused state.  It was all very confusing and I had to sort it out.  I needed to find a way to tell him 'no' without hurting his feelings or scarring him for life. 

After going downstairs and making certain everything was turned off and the doors were locked, I went upstairs again and slid into bed.  Sometime during the night I was awakened when I felt someone cuddling against me.   




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I wish to extend my thanks to Donny for editing these chapters for me and offering his suggestions. 


E-mail responses to the stories, story suggestions, or other ‘constructive’ comments or advice may be sent to: ErastesTouch@aol.com  - but please put the story title in the subject line, so it doesn’t get deleted as junk mail.  


My other stories:




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Although the boys in these stories sometimes have unprotected sex, I strongly urge all of you out there to be smart and protect yourselves from various sexually transmitted diseases by using taking appropriate precautions before engaging in sex.