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Copyright 2015 by Erastes
Chapter 81 - Better Times.
I'm not sure how long I stayed awake, but the boys eventually began to pass out from total emotional exhaustion. I was just starting to drift off too when something suddenly snapped me back to consciousness again, so I listened to discover what the noise was that had disturbed my slumber. That's when I realized Marcus was crying in his sleep.
"Shhh, you're all right and nothing can hurt you," I told him gently, as I kissed him on the forehead and gave his body a gentle squeeze. "It's just a bad dream and you're safe here with me. Just relax and let those terrible thoughts drift from your mind, because I'm here by your side and I'll always protect you and your brothers."
I didn't want to wake him unless the situation got worse and I hoped my talking to him like this would end whatever mental anguish he was enduring at the time. It must have worked, because he settled down a few seconds later and appeared to be resting peacefully again.
I eventually drifted off as well, but I'm not sure how long I had been asleep when another disturbance startled me awake. "Look out!" I heard a voice shout and I immediately sat up in bed and hurriedly glanced about the room to see who had screamed out. I soon discovered it had been Tyler, and he was thrashing about on the mattress as if he were trying to break free from an unseen opponent. I was just about to reach out and awaken him when his body suddenly bolted upright at the waist, his eyes shot open and his head began to swivel about on his shoulders, as he looked in all directions for whatever demon had disturbed his dreams. When his gaze finally settled on me, I spoke to him in a calm, reassuring voice.
"It was only a bad dream and you're all right now," I assured him, as he slowly began to regain his composure. After a few more seconds, he looked over at me and spoke.
"I dreamed I was in the car with them again, but this time I saw what was going to happen before the guy hit us," he announced, still trembling slightly. "I tried to shout out and save them, but the same thing happened."
"Tyler, you can't let this get you down. No matter what you did in your dream, there was no way you could have prevented what has already happened," I explained, and he merely looked at my face and nodded slightly.
"I know, but I still had to try. At least I feel better now, since I know I did everything I could to save them," he replied, in order to explain his intentions to me. However, his comment baffled me briefly, since he hadn't been with his parents when this had actually happened, but I guess it must have made him feel better knowing that he'd tried to do what he could, even if it had only been in his dreams.
"You're fine now, but I had a feeling this was going to be a rough night. Just lay down again and go back to sleep," I told him, but while I was speaking, Ethan began to whimper between us.
Hearing this seemed to affect Tyler just as much as it did me, so as I was stroking Ethan's hair and kissing him on the forehead, Tyler cuddled up against him, wrapped his arm around Ethan's chest and gave him a gentle squeeze. It must have helped, because Ethan quieted down shortly after that and never woke up completely.
There were a few other incidents before the evening ended, but nothing serious ever occurred. The boys merely whimpered, cried, moaned or mumbled in their sleep, but none of them ever woke up again. Each time one of those incidents occurred, I would reach out and stroke that boy's hair for a few moments, before giving him a kiss on the forehead. Then, I would whisper in his ear that he was fine and I was there to protect him. At the same time, I would assure him that he'd only had a bad dream, before urging him to go back to sleep, even though he had never actually awakened.
By the time the alarm went off, it was obvious that none of us had slept very well, especially me, and now it was time to get up to begin another day. After thinking about the situation briefly, I made a decision and prepared to announce it to the boys, who were also struggling to wake up.
"We're all going to stay home today and spend the time with each other," I explained and the boys all looked relieved, even though no one smiled or spoke. "I want the three of you to go back to sleep and I'll stay here with you for a while longer. It appears that none of you got very much rest last night, so let's see if you can make up for that now. Hopefully the daylight will keep the shadows from last night out of your dreams and allow you to get some more rest. In a little while, I'll go downstairs and make the necessary phone calls to notify the schools and my office about what we're doing, but I'll wait to do that until I'm sure someone will be there to answer the phones."
"But you didn't sleep much either," Tyler quickly challenged. "I know because I was up with you part of the time, but I can tell by just looking at you too."
"Yes, you're right, but I have to make those phone calls first and then I'll come back to join you boys in bed," I replied.
After hearing my answer, he nodded his understanding, laid down again and closed his eyes. I stayed with them until I was sure they'd all fallen back to sleep, and then I went to the toilet and tried to freshen up a bit, before I headed downstairs. I then made a pot of coffee, and when it finished brewing I poured myself a cup. I hoped the coffee would help to keep me awake long enough so I didn't pass out before notifying the schools and my boss about what the boys and I were going to do.
As soon as I could, I called the office and let my boss know I wasn't coming in today. "I didn't get much sleep last night. I took the boys to the cemetery yesterday to leave flowers at their parents' graves and I guess that caused them to have a series of troubling dreams. I stayed awake most of the night and tried to help each one cope with those unsettling visions, so none of us got much rest. Today is the actual anniversary of when their parents' were killed, so I know it's not going to get much better, but I promise I'll be in tomorrow. I'll even do a little extra work from home during each of the following nights to make up for this."
"You just stay home and take care of those boys!" my boss exclaimed, since he was concerned about them too. "My God! Has it been a year already? It certainly doesn't seem that long, but you stay there with the boys, because they're going to need you more than ever today. From what I can tell, you have been doing a remarkable job with them, so Matt and Kelly were very wise to put their faith in your ability. You just stay there and do your best to take care of any problems the boys might suffer from today. Don't worry about us either, because we'll cover for you and you won't have to work from home either."
I thanked him for his understanding and help, and then I called both schools next. I explained to each of the secretaries what the significance of the day was and informed them that each of the boys had had a rough night, so I was keeping them home for the day. Both women told me that was probably a wise move and thanked me for calling to let them know, but then they also wished me the best of luck with handling the situation. After I hung up, I went over to turn off the coffeemaker and poured the contents of the pot into a thermal carafe to keep it warm. Then, I headed upstairs again and crawled back into bed with the boys.
Even though I don't think any of them woke up when I got into bed, they all somehow managed to move over so they could cuddle against me or make some sort of bodily contact after I'd returned. I'm not sure how they knew to do this, since they were all asleep, but it made me feel good that at least to some extent they were using me as their security blanket.
I didn't wake up until I felt the boys moving around and getting out of bed. When that happened, I took them downstairs and fixed us all some breakfast. When we finished eating, I led them into the living room to talk for a bit. After I'd pulled Ethan onto my lap, I had the other two sit beside me so I could place an arm around each of their shoulders. This was my way of letting each one know he was safe and loved.
I started by asking them if there was anything about last night that they wanted to talk about or if they had any questions they wanted me to answer. That's when Marcus spoke up.
"So was it a year ago last night when the accident happened?" he wanted to know as he looked at my face and waited for my response.
"No, that will be later tonight. The accident happened around 11:00 at night, exactly one year ago today," I answered, while hoping this bit of information wouldn't lead to another round of bad dreams and disrupted sleep.
"So when will the anniversary be for when you came to live with us?" Tyler followed immediately after I'd answered.
"I showed up here to be with you very early the next morning," I answered, as I noticed the wheels apparently spinning in Tyler's brain.
"Then you'll have lived with us for a year starting tomorrow morning?" he continued, after having pieced the information together.
"Yes, that's correct," I answered, as I noticed that he seemed to be processing this information as well.
"Ok, if today is the anniversary of when our parents died, then we'll remember them and think about what happened, so I guess we'll be sad all day today," he stated, while glancing at his brothers.
"You are correct when you say that today is the anniversary of when your parents died, but I don't believe your mom and dad would want you boys to spend the day being sad," I corrected him. "I think they would probably prefer that you spend the day thinking about the years you spent with them and remembering all of the good times you had together instead." It took a minute for that to sink in before I got a response.
"Hey, we can do that," Tyler announced, suddenly looking more cheerful. "My dad had a camcorder that he used to take videos of us all the time. Then, he would download everything onto CDs later so we could watch them on the computer. I'm pretty sure those CDs are still in the closet in the office, so can we get them out and watch them on the computer?"
"You know, that sounds like an excellent idea," I confirmed, so Tyler led us into the office and showed me where those things had been stored. "I've seen these in here before and always wondered what was on those CDs. I was planning to check them out when I had some time, but I just keep forgetting about doing it when I have the chance. Let's pull these out and start watching what's on them."
Over the next few hours, we sat around the computer and viewed the images from the past on the computer screen. The CDs weren't labeled, but they were numbered in the order that Matt, Kelly or one of their friends had recorded them. We started off with the first one, which was Matt and Kelly's wedding, and I was mildly surprised when I learned that the two youngest boys had never watched it before.
"This is neat!" Marcus exclaimed. "I never saw this before now and I can't believe how young Mommy and Daddy look."
"Well they were young back then, but are you sure that you've never seen this?" I asked, slightly puzzled.
"I have, but I guess these two must have been too young to appreciate it at the time," Tyler offered. "It's neat seeing Mom and Dad again though and they look so happy. I merely nodded in agreement.
As we flipped through the various files, we saw images of when Kelly was pregnant with Tyler, and then we saw Tyler as a baby and watched as he grew up. Tyler was still a toddler when Kelly was pregnant with Marcus and then we saw Marcus after he was born and while he was growing up too. Tyler was in school and Marcus was a toddler when Ethan came around, but we got to see similar shots of Ethan as well.
In between those clips, we got to see images of their birthday parties, cookouts, the holidays and other activities the boys had enjoyed with Matt and Kelly. We also watched Matt playing in a couple of softball games when suddenly one of the boys noticed something else.
"Hey, that's you! Isn't it, Uncle Blake?" Tyler blurted out, while I began to blush. I was slightly embarrassed when I noticed the guy with his long locks sticking out from under his baseball cap as he played second base beside Matt at shortstop.
"Yes, that ugly creature is me," I ultimately confessed and the boys giggled.
"You aren't ugly, but at first I thought it was a girl playing second base," Marcus teased.
"Hey, I don't have boobs," I shot back, which caused all of the boys to start giggling again.
We continued going through the memories of their lives with their parents and only took a very short break for lunch. Then we went back and started the process all over with the next batch of CDs.
"Hey, there's Uncle Blake with his old boyfriend," Tyler pointed out when we got to the file of the Christmas party I'd attended with my old flame at their house. "He's not bad looking, but I'm cuter," Tyler quipped, just to let me know that I had made an improvement now that I was with him. Luckily, his brothers didn't catch on to his meaning.
By the time we had gone through each of the other files, the boys seemed to be in a much better mood. I was grateful that Tyler had remembered they still had these CDs and that the boys had such a great time reliving those memories, even the ones they hadn't been there to enjoy the first time around.
"You were right," Tyler stated, momentarily confusing me. "It was a lot better remembering those times, rather than thinking about how it all ended. I'm pretty sure Mom and Dad would want us to think about these things instead."
"Yeah, that was fun," Ethan agreed. "I got to see Marcus and Tyler when they were little too, but don't show anybody else the videos of us when Mommy and Daddy were giving us a bath." We all laughed at his comment.
"Can't we show these videos to Dylan, Justin and Andrew the next time they come over?" Marcus wanted to know. "I think they'd like to see them too and we don't care if they see us getting a bath, because we see each other naked all the time." Ethan eventually gave in and nodded his head.
"Sure, we can do that if they want to see the videos too, but they may not want to watch all of them like we just did," I agreed.
"I bet they will," Tyler differed. "They'll have just as much fun making fun of us, as we had making fun of each other."
"Yeah, you might be right about that," I finally agreed. "But we'll leave the choice up to them."
I also began to feel better now, seeing the boys appeared to be in a much better mood. I had only just left them so I could go to the kitchen and start fixing dinner when all three boys came out to confront me.
"Hey, I just thought of something!" Tyler announced and I had no idea what he might be referring to. "You celebrated each of our birthdays with us and threw us a party so we could invite our friends, but we never had a party for you. If you've been here a whole year now, you must have had a birthday during that time, so why didn't you tell us about it?"
I had wondered if any of them were going to eventually ask me about this, because I had intentionally avoided bringing it up. "My birthday was shortly after I first came here to live with you and at the time none of us were really in the mood to celebrate anything, let alone an old man's birthday."
"You're not old," Ethan assured me, as he gave my leg a squeeze.
"When is it then?" Marcus followed.
"My birthday is on February 8th," I offered. "That was only a couple of weeks after I first moved in with you and we had way too much on our minds to worry about a silly birthday then."
"Your birthday's not silly," Ethan corrected, while giving me a disapproving glare.
"So your birthday is exactly a month before mine?" Tyler asked, totally shocked. "Wow! I wish I'd known that."
"Like I said, it wasn't a big deal and it wasn't a good time," I responded as Tyler's face brightened. This indicated he had something up his sleeve.
"Hey, I've got an idea then," Tyler followed while looking me in the eye. "Since we didn't get to celebrate your birthday last year, what if we all go to Dominick's for dinner tomorrow night to celebrate the one year anniversary of you becoming our new dad."
"We can do that if you want, but I'm your guardian, not your dad," I countered, since I didn't want the boys to think I was trying to replace my best friend and their biological father.
"Hey, we can have two dads," Marcus offered. "It doesn't mean we love either of you less or can't love both of you at the same time. We should think of you like our dad too, because you take care of us just like he did."
"Yeah, he's right," Ethan chimed in.
"If you want to think of me like that I don't mind, but you should still refer to me as Uncle Blake," I agreed, making a slight compromise.
"So can we do that tomorrow and all go out to celebrate that you have been with us for a year?" Tyler followed, since I hadn't given him an answer. "And then we'll have a party on your birthday too. We'll invite Dylan, Justin, Andrew, Uncle Don, Aunt Cherie, Aunt Sally and Auntie Ann."
"I'll take you to Dominick's tomorrow night and we can celebrate my birthday too, but we don't need to make a big production out of it," I relented, without wanting them to go overboard.
"No, you had big parties for us and we want to do the same thing for you," Tyler objected. "Dylan and I will talk to his mom about it and set everything up."
"Tyler, please don't do that," I begged, but I could see my plea was falling on deaf ears.
"We want to and it will be fun," he shot back as he ran to get his phone so he could call Dylan.
* * * * * *
It had been a long, and sometimes stressful year, but it had also been filled with joy and many wonderful memories. I now looked forward to spending even more time with these marvelous boys and hoped to watch each one of them grow into fine young men.
The thing I was the most troubled about was if I was doing the right thing with Tyler. Almost everything we'd done had been his idea and I'd tried my best not to force him into anything, but was I handling the situation correctly? Was I doing what was best for him or only best for myself?
Then, there was this other problem. Since Tyler and I had now become lovers, I'd discovered I was scared to death that someday he would get bored with me, especially as I grew older, and then try to find someone else, someone younger, and then leave me. He'd constantly assured me this would never happen and told me we would always be together, and I truly hoped that would be the case. Maybe my insecurities are beginning to surface, but I don't think I'd ever be able to love anyone else as much as I loved him. I guess I'll just have to do everything in my power to keep him happy and feeling loved, so he'll never be tempted to leave me.
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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.
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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.