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© Miguel Sanchez 2003 - 2004
The First Day
I came downstairs and made sure all the doors were locked then got myself comfortable to watch the 11pm news. As soon I sat in my chair I almost nodded off to sleep. I decided to skip the news and head right for bed. I did my nightly duties then crawled into bed. As soon as my head was on the pillow that was the last thing I remembered until morning.
I started to wake up and to my surprise I was staring into a pair of eyes. I lay for a few minutes allowing my eyes to adjust to what I was looking at then the next thing I knew I felt a pair of lips kissing me full on the mouth.
This lasted for a few seconds then I felt his tongue probing to get past my lips. It then hit me who this was. I pulled back and looked, and sure enough Mike was lying next to me trying to find my tonsils. I sat up and did my best saying to him, "Why are you in my bed, Mike?
Mike signed back saying, "Tim started getting restless and tossing and I couldn't sleep in there. I tried . . ." I heard a voice speaking as the signing continued. It was Tito standing in the door.
I looked up at him and he repeated saying, "I tried sleeping in Jordan's room but I was alone and I still couldn't sleep so I came in here. Please don't be mad. I just was giving you a thank you kiss."
I tapped Mike and pointed Tito out to him. I felt guilty now for yelling at him but Christ, he scared the shit out of me. I knew sleeping with any of the boys wasn't against the rules and I sure wasn't going to violate the one standing rule Miguel and I agreed on and that was no sexual contact for any reason. I reached out to him and he almost sat on my lap as I said, "Mike, I'm not mad but next time you want to come in and sleep with me, wake me up first. I'll let you sleep here but I would like to know you're here before I find you first."
I heard him giggle as he said, "Alright Marco, but you looked so peaceful there I didn't want to wake you."
Mike leaned over and kissed me again but this time I was able to prevent him trying to probe my mouth. He then laid his head on my shoulder and hugged me tightly. I felt tears hit my neck so I just let him cry. I wondered how long this has been pent up in him. I guess being alone and without his boyfriends in a strange place was too much for him. He finally stopped crying and I handed him some tissues that I keep at my bedside so he could wipe his eyes and blow his nose. I looked at him and asked "feel better now?" He smiled kissing my cheek and simply said, "Yes."
I looked to see what time it was and my clock read seven-fifteen. I knew Ronnie would have breakfast ready by eight so I said, "Go wake the others and get showered and dressed. Breakfast will be in forty-five minutes." He hugged me again before running upstairs. I almost shouted at him but realized he wouldn't be able to hear me so I made a mental note to tell them no running allowed in the house. I then looked at Tito who had a shit-eating smirk on his face and asked, "And just how long have you known he was in here?"
He smiled and said, "Oh, since about one when he came in and told me the problem. If I had room with me he would have been more than welcome with me Dad. You know that."
I knew Tito well enough that I knew he was telling me the truth. I leaned down and Tito ran and jumped into my arms for my morning hug and kiss. I was about to tell him to wake Eduardo and Ruben when I heard a voice saying; "Good morning Uncle Marco." Then I was surrounded by two more of my nephews.
I set Tito down and said, "Go get showered and dressed for breakfast. You know how your Dad is if we're late." I ruffled his hair and it was still wet.
He just smiled at me and as he turned I managed to smack one of his bare butt cheeks. He turned and smiled at me as the three of them went to get dressed. It was seven-thirty so I grabbed a quick shower and shaved; since I hadn't done it in a few days. I got dressed in a pair of jeans, short sleeve western shirt and my boots. I noticed a large coat rack by the front door and I knew that would be a very functional item. It would be a good place for my denim jacket and my cowboy hat. I have a black Stetson and I've been told I look very good in it. It was a little chilly out so I went to grab my jacket and hat then went to check on the others. I thought about what needed to be done and the only thing I could think of was the stables needed a good cleaning. We were supposed to take delivery on five more horses. The one thing I really wanted all the boys to do was be able to ride and enjoy riding a horse. I think my son and nephews would rather ride their horses than ride their bikes.
I got to the door and Mike, Tim, and Jordan all came out dressed for breakfast. Tim was laughing when I saw Tito and said, "And just what the hell is so funny? You think the way I'm dressed is funny?" I pointed to Tim's footwear and he had a pair of boots on himself.
Mike was laughing so hard he was on the floor holding his stomach. I think Tim came out on the short end of this already short stick. Tim picked Mike up off the floor and signed saying, "Alright you guys so I like wearing boots too. Marco, I guess I really shouldn't have done that."
He started to apologize but I cut him off saying, "It's alright Tim. I know you weren't being rude. You were just playing and that's alright. I know you'd never hurt anyone now let's get to breakfast or Ronnie will hurt us all by not feeding us. I'm going to have to get a coffee pot here so I can have my morning wake up juice. We got into the Hummer and within a couple of minutes we were pulling up outside Jay and Ronnie's house. We got out of the Hummer and I heard another vehicle pulling up. I looked to see who it was and it was my little brother and his family. Tito was telling our residents who they were and soon all the introductions were made. I gave Stevie a hug and let him go off with the others as Steven, Angel and I walked into house.
I gave my sister-in-law a big hug then reached for my brother. I gave him a big hug and said, "I now know bro just what it's like to wake each day knowing you have a child who needs you."
Steven hugged me a little tighter and said, "It's a wonderful feeling isn't it."
I let him go and we both headed over to the big coffee pot and I said, "That it is". I was so jealous of what you and Angel had until I was back in Brazil. The first time I saw Tito, I was taken right then and there. I knew I not only wanted to be his father but I needed to be. I don't know how I've managed this long without a child in my life."
Steven gave me another quick hug then I went over to say good morning to Pop. He was reading the paper and drinking his coffee. I knew by now he must be on his second cup at least so he wouldn't be so grouchy. I said; "Morning Pop. How are you today?"
He knew I was here since I walked past him talking to Steven. I knew I was in for it. Hell, I always was with Pop. He looked up from his paper and said, "Oh hi son, I didn't hear you. When did you get here?"
Oh shit, here it comes. I'm going to get it. I might as well give in now and save what face I could. "Alright Pop, I should have came here first and spoke and hugged you. I'm sorry I was in a conversation with Steven, and I thought you would cut me some slack."
I knew I was beat and I was standing there like a dog with its tail stuck between its legs. Pop closed the paper and set his cup down and stood up and gave me my I'm a twelve year old hug again. Shit, beat again. I looked around there were all my brothers and sister laughing at me. I felt Pop pat me on the back and say, "Marco, I heard you talking and I didn't mind nor did I expect you to stop. Don't think that I have to be the first person you see when you get here. I know how you feel and I feel the same, alright?"
He reached over and hugged me again in our special hug. I kissed his cheek then said, "I'm sorry Pop. Maybe I'm feeling guilty for being away so long and not seeing you or my brothers. I don't know Pop."
Pop lifted my chin up and looked me in the eyes and said, "Look, you had your life and I know we were in your heart and we'd always be there. I wanted you to enjoy yourself and I always knew if I needed you I could get in touch with you and I did, didn't I?"
He was right, as always. God how I loved this man and my brothers I hugged him then said, "Yeah Pop, you did. I love you."
I know Pop was going to say something but Ronnie broke the moment saying; "Breakfast everyone. Come and get it."
Everyone was quickly seated and eating. Tito was eating and signing since our new residents were fielding tons of questions from everyone. I answered, as many as I could, considering I still knew very little about them. Although they have told me quite a lot about themselves, I still didn't feel comfortable telling others about them. Angela and Stevie came over to them and gave them big hugs when they learned their parents had all been killed in the same accident. They told them they are in a better place and the boys are now part of a very big family.
I saw our three new boys wipe their eyes after hearing that. They continued answering question but they seemed to have slowed down quite a bit. When everyone finished, I announced the chores for the day. Everyone moaned, groaned and complained when they heard the stables had to be cleaned. I had cleaned Apollo's the day before yesterday so I knew his wasn't that bad. I looked at my three boys with the horses and said, "When was the last time you cleaned your horses' stables out? I think I've talked to all of you about that, haven't I"
The room got quiet and the three boys were standing there just looking at the ground. Tito tried to make the excuse of our new resident's arrival when I just glared at him and he knew that excuse wasn't good enough. "Now you are lucky because I want Mike, Tim and Jordan to know how to do it. Each boy will be responsible for cleaning the stable of their own horse."
That got the three boys attention real quick. Jordan said, "Marco, we don't have a horse. Heck, it's been a long time since I've ridden and I don't know about Mike or Tim."
They were standing there shaking their heads no telling me they haven't been on a horse. I looked at them and said, "That's alright because we'll teach you. This is the one thing that I really want all the boys to have in common and that is a love of horses. Come on, let's go to the stables and you can see the four horses that are there."
Tito tried to scare the new guys by saying, "Yeah, just watch out for a big black one. He'll try to stomp you."
Jordan quickly countered saying, "Right Tito, you can clean his stall."
I thought that was funny. Someone put my kid in his place. He was dumbfounded but I noticed one more thing, he was quiet. We all walked to the stable, we entered through the side entrance and looked down about twenty or so empty stalls. As we walked past each empty one, we started hearing a horse whinny. We were almost to Apollo's stall, when all of a sudden a big black head appeared out of what seemed nowhere.
As we got closer, Jordan's eyes got big and said, "Marco he's beautiful and huge."
I giggled and said, "Yeah he's big alright but he's also a baby, my baby."
Tito ran over and jumped into my arms and looked at me and said, "I thought you said I was your baby?"
I hugged him and said, "Yes son I did. I said you were my baby boy. I simply said Apollo was my baby. I didn't say baby what, now did I?"
Zing! Twice in one day Tito had been left speechless. I didn't want him to think we were ganging up on him so I gave him one of my special daddy hugs to him. I saw him light up when I did that. He turned around and rubbed Apollo's nose, then lean over and kiss him. I set him down and got his lead rope and hooked it to his bridle. I held it then opened the lower half of his stall. I could see Mike, Tim, and Jordan in awe as they saw my magnificent beauty. I unlatched the rope across the stall and led him out. I walked him for a few minutes then let our new residents pat him. Apollo was being very calm considering I hadn't ridden him in a few days.
I had to go check a couple of the resident houses so we could get repairs going. Pop didn't want to wait until the last minute so that was to be my job. He wanted all the houses completely fixed before we had our first twenty residents. I knew that Pop and Jay were listed as staff so I got an idea that could give them a tax break. I would talk that over with them during lunch. I just hoped this idea could be worked out.
Apollo was starting to get antsy with all the hands on him and that brought me out of my private thought chat. I led him outside and tied him to a fence post in the corral and gave him a light brushing before putting his saddle on him. I told Tito, Eduardo and Ruben that there were going to be six more horses delivered here about ten-thirty so I wanted the stables cleaned and ready by then. They assured me it would be. I knew they should get that done quickly because there're only four stalls that need cleaning.
I led him to the gate and walked him outside, closed the gate then mounted my beautiful steed. I started walking him out of the area when my cell phone rang. It was Pop, and he wanted to talk to me about an application that he received that looked really good. For him to come right out and tell me that, I knew he was letting me know that he wanted to hire this person. I went over to the house and tied Apollo to a hitching post and walked inside.
I saw him sitting at the table so I said, "Hi Pop, who's this guy you want to tell me about," as I headed over to the refrigerator and grabbed a cold soda. I went over and sat down and he handed me his folder. I looked it over and began to read. The first thing that caught my attention was his age. He was only eighteen and he was applying for a youth counselor's position. So I went and started over at the beginning. It read, "Michael Christian, age: 18, Home: California and a recent high school graduate. He had college applications pending and he wanted to major in Child and Adolescent Psychology. He is an Eagle Scout and has been a youth counselor with his parish church for the past five years. Our application has one very unusual space on it and there it asks for their sexual orientation. His was clearly marked GAY." I sat and read many letters of accomplishment and four glowing personal recommendations. I was impressed and I wanted to meet this young man for myself. I knew that he could be an asset here and I really didn't want him to get away.
I looked at Pop and said, "Can you call him and see if we can do a telephone interview with him. I see what you mean that he would be good here and as far as his college education goes, if he's hired The Foundation will pay for that as part of our employee's benefits package. I'm impressed and I'd hate to have him get away."
He looked at me and said, "I thought you'd agree that's why I wanted you to see this before you got out in the field. If the telephone interview goes well and I don't see why it wouldn't, we could get him out here tomorrow.
I'll send my plane after him."
I thought to myself `He really wants this kid bad. Is there a photograph I'm missing?' I took a drink of my soda and said, "Sounds good to me. I'll see you by lunch time." I looked at my watch and said, "By the way, I'll only get to inspect maybe three houses now. If this hadn't come up I could have finished up my first by now."
He started laughing as I finished my drink and threw it into the trash. He said, "Yeah, yeah I hear you. Go on and get the hell out of here. I'll see you back at lunch."
I told him there was something I wanted to talk over with everyone at lunch and I really wanted Angel here. He nodded and I went out to Apollo and went to inspect the houses. They weren't in that bad of condition so the repairs to these three were going to be minimal at best and moderate at worse. I mounted Apollo and we had a nice ride back to the stables. I wanted to take him back out this afternoon with all the boys so I didn't open up like I would have if I were going to let him have a good rest afterwards.
I saw the house come over the ridge and I let my black steed stretch his legs and he took off. I saw seven boys stilling on the fence each with a big grin on their face as they saw Apollo flying towards them. I slowed him down the last five hundred feet and walked into the compound. We walked up to the fence and Ruben hopped down and opened it. I took Apollo's saddle off him so I could cool him down. I unsaddled my horse and went to walk him around but Mike let me know that he wanted to. Ruben said he'd watch him then brush him good before coming into the house. I rubbed his hair and hugged all the boys then went inside.
I went inside and let the screen door slam and Pop always gives me his look when I do that. I took my jacket and hat off and hung it on the coat tree then gave Pop a kiss and grabbed myself a cold drink out of the fridge and went to sit at the table. I handed him my inspection reports on the three houses I looked at. He looked at me and said, "Are you sure about this?"
To be continued